In a battle of four schools that have purple and white in the colors, two schools with purple and white won ball games Tuesday night. Fortunately, it was the WAC schools that won ball games. Tarleton held off a pesky Weber State squad at Wisdom Gym. And despite giving up a 30-point lead, GCU hung on to knock off Alcorn State at GCU Arena.
Super Tuesday had a much better outcome than Big Monday. But it didn’t come easy for either Tarleton or GCU.
Tarleton 75, Weber State 65
The White Out game at Wisdom Gym had its moments. But, Lue Williams, Freddy Hicks and the Texans were able to hold off Weber State on Tuesday night. It’s kind of ironic, too. Tarleton shot 52 percent from the floor, 45 percent from 3-point land and forced 22 turnovers.
One would think the game would be a blowout. And for some, 10 points is a blowout.
But, the game was never firmly in hand until about the 2:47 mark of the second half.
Zahir Porter hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to six with 3:54 left to play. But Freddy Hicks responded with a layup. And Chicago State transfer Coreyoun Rushin also hit a layup to push the lead back to 10 with 2:47 to play.
Fortunately for Tarleton, the Wildcats had a tough time scoring down the stretch. Tarleton missed 15 free throws on Tuesday night. Granted, the Texans made almost as many (22) as Weber State attempted. But, it was about the only issue Tarleton had all night against the Big Sky foe.
Tarleton led in nearly every category. Turnovers, rebounds, second-chance points, bench points, fast break points, blocks, steals and assists. Looking at the stat sheet, this should have been a blowout win for the Texans.
Lue Williams had a team-high 16 points. Freddy Hicks had 14 points and eight rebounds. Javontae Hopkins had 11 points. And Coreyoun Rushin finished with 10 points and five rebounds.
Tarleton improves to 4-3 overall. The Texans host non-DI Wiley College on Saturday before heading to Waco to take on Baylor on Dec. 6.
GCU 80, Alcorn State 72
Boom. Boom. And Boom.
And that quick it was a 9-0 lead for GCU on Tuesday night. Seven minutes into the game, it was 20-1. Then 22-1. Then at the under 12 media timeout, it was 25-3. Jovan Blacksher’s layup with 8:22 to play in the first half pushed the lead to 30.
But something changed at that point. Slowly at first. Alcorn State started scoring. Trevin Wade had a layup off a turnover. Mike Pajeaud hit a pair of free throws, and then the bucket seemed to open for the Braves.
Byron Joshua hit back-to-back 3-pointers and all of a sudden that 30-point lead was down to 19. Noah Baumann’s 3-pointer with 3:05 to play in the first half pushed the lead back to 22. But then a 7-0 Alcorn State cut the deficit to 15 with 37 seconds left in the half.
Byron Joshua’s layup with two seconds remaining made it a 15-point game at the break.
Out of the break, Jovan Blacksher’s layup made it 52-35 with 17:53 to play.
But, Alcorn State responded with a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to seven with 14:52 to play. Four straight free throws from Byron Joshua cut the deficit to five with 13:45 to play.
And things went back and forth over the next 90 seconds. Jovan Blacksher hit a 3-pointer and Alcorn State responded with a layup. Blacksher hit a jumper and Alcorn responded with a Dekedran Thorn 3-pointer.
Five straight points by Byron Joshua tied the game up at 63 with 7:29 to play.
That’s when GCU decided to wake up in the second half. Yvan Ouedraogo scored four straight points, Rayshon Harrison hit a 3-pointer and the Lopes went on a 9-0 run to take control.
Ray Harrison’s dunk with 2:35 to play pushed the lead to 11 and the Lopes held on from there.
Lost in the mix is that Jovan Blacksher Jr. injured his ankle late in the second half. His right ankle got twisted on an Alcorn State drive and Blacksher had to leave the game. He didn’t return.
Blacksher finished with a team-high 21 points. Rayshon Harrison had 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. Noah Baumann had 14 points off the bench. And Yvan Ouedraogo had 10 points and six rebounds.
Byron Joshua led all scorers with 30 points and was a perfect 5-5 from 3-point land.
GCU improves to 6-2 overall and will head to Laramie to take on Wyoming on Saturday.
𝗟𝗢𝗣𝗘𝗦 𝗪𝗜𝗡! 💪 pic.twitter.com/Jn03rQVSQ4
— Grand Canyon Men’s Basketball (@GCU_MBB) November 30, 2022