Coach Dan Majerle, Grand Canyon – Opening Statement: “Happy to win. It was a good victory for us, that’s a tough team to play against. They just keep coming at you and play extremely hard. I was proud of our guys, it wasn’t pretty but it’s good to get a win. That’s a tough team to play against so I was happy for our guys, they’ve been working really hard. We’ve had some disappointing games here, we’ve been close, but this was a good one for us.”
On defensive effectiveness: “We wanted to concentrate on our defense because we haven’t been good defensively, the way that we want to play. That’s been a talking point the last day or so, of what we did wrong in the first two games defensively and we wanted to make sure that we came out and locked down defensively, got better and got back to where we want to play. I thought our guys really concentrated on that, in the first half especially. I knew with their pressure that we wouldn’t be able to run many plays, we were just going to get out in the open court and move the basketball. Our best offense was us getting stops and getting out and running.”
Forward Alessandro Lever, Grand Canyon – On getting a win: “We came here to compete, we obviously tried to win the first two games, but it didn’t come through so it’s always good to get a win. Like Coach Majerle, it was a tough game that put a lot of pressure on us.”
On playing in front of fan base: “It feels like we always play a home game so it’s a great atmosphere. It’s exciting to play with a crowd like that, we love it.”
Coach Ashley Howard, La Salle – (On his team’s first half) – “Another game where our guys battled to the end. Our felt we did a good job executing our offensive game plan, which was to strategically blitz [Alessandro] Lever and keep their guards off balance with our ball screen coverage. I felt like we had a stretch there offensively where we had a lid on the basket that enabled GCU to create some separation. Then you’re battling to the end, I felt like we just ran out of steam at the end.”
(On the scoring drought in the first half) – “We just missed open shots. I thought we had good looks, the ball just didn’t go in the basket. Our freshman Jared Kimbrough, another game where he gets two quick fouls. We need him in the game, we’re going to work with him on defending with intelligence and not fouling.”
(On Traci Carter’s performance) – “I thought he played the game the right way. I think Traci has to pick and choose his opportunities to shoot. I thought he did a better job of getting guys shots. We’ll continue to evaluate late-game situations where he has opportunities to score. I do want him to look for his shot but, he’s our point guard and I think he’s doing a really good job of making sure that he’s distributing the ball and getting guys shots where they can be effective.”
(On momentum into Villanova week) – ““It gives us a week of preparation on ourselves. Just getting better at learning how to play off each other. I felt we played with effort, there were a lot of situations where guys weren’t in the right position to help each other out. I think we have to do a better job of defending the basket by taking charges and that’s something that we didn’t do today. There are a lot of different areas where we can improve, we just want to be back and prepare on getting ourselves better. Villanova is just our next opponent. Right now for us, it’s just about us continuing to focus on us and getting better.”
- In the first 10 games of this year’s tournament, there were no double-doubles, but in this game there were two… Grand Canyon’s Alessandro Lever had 17 points and 10 rebounds, his third career double-double… La Salle’s Miles Brookins got his double-double with 10 points and a career high 10 rebounds.
- Early in the game Grand Canyon scored 17 straight points to change a 9-8 deficit into a 25-9 lead… The 17 unanswered points is to this point the longest such streak in this year’s Wooden Legacy by any team, replacing the 14 in a row that Grand Caynon gave up against Utah.
- La Salle’s Pookie Powell went 7-7 from the free throw line, and for the tournament finished 19-21 (.904)… He became just the fifth player in Wooden Legacy history to shoot at least 90% FT while attempting at least 20 free throws.
Grand Canyon (4-3)
- Grand Canyon is playing in its first ESPN event (1-2 record in those).
- Grand Canyon held La Salle to .304 FG%, the seventh lowest a GCU opponent has ever shot… The Explorers at one point missed 15 consecutive shots and then later missed 15 of 16.
- Alessandro Lever scored 17 points, and has now scored at least 10 points in 13 of his last 14 games… Of the 11 times that he has scored at least 17 points, eight have come in either road games or at neutral sites.
- Damari Milstead shared the team lead with 17 points, the fourth time in his career he has had double figure scoring (and third time in past four games)… This was his second-best effort ever, with his career high 21 coming against Seton Hall in the opening round of this tournament.
- Carlos Johnson scored 16 points, his 12th career game with 10+ points (and fourth with GCU).
- Trey Drechsel scored 10 points, and has scored in double figures in five of his seven collegiate games.
La Salle (0-7)
- La Salle is playing in its second ESPN event (2-4 record in those).
- La Salle has begun the season 0-7, replacing the 1995-96 campaign as the worst start in team history (when the team began 0-6)… The seven-game losing streak is also the team’s longest since January to February 2016 (lost 10 straight).
- Isiah Deas led the Explorers with 22 points, the third time in his career he has surpassed 20 points… His 25 shots was a career most.
- Pookie Powell’s 15 points gave him at least 10 points in 22 of his last 23 games.