OREM — If you haven’t seen GCU guards Jovan Blacksher Jr., Holland Woods and Sean Miller-Moore play, you should.
On Thursday night in Orem, the trio put on a clinic, especially in the second half.
Blacksher, Woods and Miller-Moore combined for 64 points to lead GCU to a 79-69 win over Utah Valley at the UCCU Center. Blacksher and Woods finished with 23 points while Miller-Moore had 19 in the win.
It is just the second road win in conference play for the Lopes who improve to 17-5 overall and 8-3 in WAC play. And it is the first win in Orem for the Lopes since the 2016-17 season when GCU won 77-71.
“Players making plays,” GCU head coach Bryce Drew said. “Jovan and Holland were just sensational in that second half, making tough shot after tough shot … points off turnovers, 25, that was huge for us, to get out in transition and make a couple 3’s.”
Meanwhile, Utah Valley drops to 15-8 overall and 6-5 in WAC play.
There is something about the halftime break that can change a game. For Grand Canyon, the halftime break was exactly what it needed after shooting just 37 percent and trailing by two.
With 15 minutes to play, the GCU guards took over. Sean Miller-Moore’s turnaround jumper started a 16-2 run for GCU that put the Lopes up for good. Miller-Moore, Blacksher and Woods had 14 of the 16 points during the run. Woods hit a pair of 3-pointers and Miller-Moore took advantage of Utah Valley turnovers to get out on the fast break.
Utah Valley was never able to recover. A lot of the GCU guards success has to be attributed to the GCU bigs. Yvan Ouedraogo and Aidan Igiehon were physical with Utah Valley big man Fardaws Aimaq. The defense led to instant offense for the GCU guards.
Yes, Aimaq recorded another double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. But, there was just no offensive flow in the second for the Wolverines. Utah Valley turned the ball over five times over a three-minute span and GCU took advantage.
‘We tried to rotate our three bigs,” Drew said. “And I thought they did a really good job at points in the game giving him different looks as far as how they defended him.”
The night, at least in the second half, belonged to the GCU guards. Holland Woods had 18 of his 23 points in the second half. Jovan Blacksher Jr. had 15 second half points. And Sean Miller-Moore had 11 of his 19 points in the second half.
GCU also took advantage of Utah Valley’s 12 turnovers. The Lopes had 25 points off the turnovers.
“We had 12 turnovers, which is not good,” UVU head coach Mark Madsen said. “But then the real killer on that is it was 25 points off our 12 turnovers. What that tells is that it was a huge amount of live-ball turnovers … the turnovers were a huge part of it.”
And off one of the eight steals, Miller-Moore threw down the dagger with 1:30 to play.
— GCU Men’s Basketball (@GCU_MBB) February 11, 2022
Grand Canyon takes the trip down I-15 to take on Dixie State on Saturday. Utah Valley hosts New Mexico State on Saturday afternoon.
Story will be updated