Tuesday morning GCU played Northern Iowa in Kansas City for the Hall of Fame Classic. Both teams lost the day before and look to rebound quickly in this affair. The Panthers were 1-2 on the season and the Antelopes were 3-2.
Here are my takeaways from the game:
GCU started hot off the tip with a 25-11 lead with 10:00 to play. After taking a loss, the best remedy to forget is a good start the next game. GCU had an early 10-point lead that set the tone the rest of the game.
GCU led 41-27 at halftime.
GCU won 69-67.
GCU controlled the glass. The Panthers did not get many opportunities to score second chance points. Most times down the court the Panthers were one shot and out.
GCU won the board battle 24-11 in the 1st half and 19-0 in 2nd chance points, which is very telling usually of wins and losses.
GCU finished winning the glass battle 44-28.
Five players were on double figures so the Panthers could not key on one player led by McMillian’s 16 points off the bench.
Gabe was a beast. He posted up, grabbed rebounds high above the box. His activity on the glass kept plays alive. He had a nasty left hand tip dunk off of a rebound. He moved without the ball and got open inside the paint. He had a huge post up late in the game, made free throws plus he had an alley-oop dunk, as the contest was in question. He finished with 13 points and a game high 18 rebounds.
The ‘Bake Show’ scored 13 points in the first half.
Two catch and shoot threes and used his shifty handle to get into the paint plus even hit one deep triple off the dribble. He had hard shot fakes and he also drove and kicked it for some assists, as he started getting more attention.
McMillian led GCU with 16 points.
He hit two 3’s, got to the rim and had an open court steal and bucket. He scored 11 points in the first half.
Once again he backs up my case for possible 6th man of the year in the WAC Conference.
GCU actually had the size advantage and Yvan cashed in on the boards and made some hook shots and had multiple offensive rebound put backs. He scored when they needed a spark and had a nice inside out mixture. He made a clutch free throw down the stretch to give GCU a 4-point lead late.
Jovan Blacksher Jr
He has the quickest hands in the passing lanes and he heated up from downtown in the second half with two threes and a pull-up from 15-feet. He also had a huge block down the stretch.
He scored only 6 points vs Wichita State and had a better scoring outing with 10 points.
Stop the Guards from Getting into the Lane
Panther guards were very effective getting downhill to score and they also drove and kicked it to wide open shooters for points. It cost GCU throughout the game. Hopefully they can clean that up the next game.
Struggled on Switches
When GCU’s bigs got out on switches at the top of the key, they struggled defending the Panthers guards. They either shot it quickly before the big could react or blew right by. This is something to be aware of to start the WAC Conference.
Tytan Anderson SF 6’6 Soph Northern Iowa
Many games GCU struggled defending the opposing teams best player. Well Tytan had impressive stat line of
18 points 11 rebounds and 2 assists.
You don’t always want to focus on just one player, but in certain contests, they may have to get the ball out of the best players hands. He scored from inside and out with great size and length.
An Exciting Finish
GCU led throughout the entire game but definitely made the game interesting as Northern Iowa stormed back in the 2nd half. They cut it to 3 with seconds remaining but GCU smartly fouled their player. He made the first and missed the 2nd on purpose but GCU corralled the rebound for the 69-67 Win!
Pepperdine comes to town on Saturday night. Should be a great game and a loud crowd.