GCU
Asbjørn Midtgaard had a double-double as GCU got a series sweep over New Mexico State on Saturday night at GCU Arena. Courtesy GCU Athletics.
Grand Canyon News

Midtgaard, GCU Dominate Dixie State to Earn Series Sweep

GCU center Asbjôrn Midtgaard is a large man. Simply put, right?

At 7’0 and 270 pounds, Midtgaard is an imposing opponent for anyone. And on Saturday night at the Burns Arena, Midtgaard did a little of everything.

The Wichita State transfer had a game-high 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead GCU to a dominant 81-46 win over Dixie State. The Saturday night win completed another conference series sweep for the Lopes who are 4-0 in WAC play. 

“Our guys came with a lot of intensity today,” GCU head coach Bryce Drew said. “Yesterday, Dixie came out and hit us first and got us on our heels a little bit. I think our guys came out a lot more aggressive, a lot more together in the first half and a lot more assertive.”

GCU used a 19-4 run early in the first half to take control. Midtgaard capped the run with an offensive rebound and dunk. And the Lopes kept the foot on the gas all night. 

“Guys really responded,” Drew said. “The biggest thing we wanted is we just wanted a lot more overall effort and I thought we did it for 40 minutes tonight, which is great to see from a coach’s standpoint because we had great stretches but we hadn’t had 40 minutes where we played as hard as we did for these 40.”

Midtgaard and teammate Gabe McGlothan combined for 21 rebounds. And Midtgaard and McGlothan helped GCU have a 32-18 advantage in points in the paint. 

“This, to me, is the best team in our conference,” Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins said of the Lopes. “They have size. They have quickness. They shoot it. They’re very, very good … They were men. It’s like men above the boys.”

Perhaps the most telling point in the game came with 11:48 to play. Dixie State’s Jacob Nicolds seemed to have an open layup. Out of nowhere, the smallest player on the floor made a highlight-reel play. At 5’11, GCU guard Jovan Blacksher rose up and blocked Nicolds’ shot with authority. 

GCU had four players in double figures led by Midtgaard. Alessandro Lever had 13 points and six rebounds. Blacksher Jr. had 10 points in just 22 minutes. And Chance McMillian had 11 points off the bench in 18 minutes. All-in-all, GCU had 12 players score in the blowout win. 

Dixie State was led by Cameron Gooden who had a team-high 14 points. But, Dixie State shot just 35 percent from the floor and 16.7 percent from 3-point land in the loss. The Trailblazers head to California next weekend to take on former DII rival California Baptist. Dixie State is 0-4 to open its first season in the WAC. 

Next up for the Lopes is a home series against defending WAC champion New Mexico State. The Aggies just came off pause on Saturday night and have yet to play a WAC game. However, GCU is not taking anything for granted against the Aggies. 

“It’s going to be difficult,” Drew said. “On their side, it’ll be difficult because they’ve only played one Division I game. On our side, it’ll be difficult because, for two or three weeks, basically they’ve been preparing for us and we’ve been preparing for other teams. We’ll see Friday night what it looks like.”

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