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Grand Canyon forward Keonta Vernon (24) drives on Louisville forward Mangok Mathiang during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. Louisville defeated Grand Canyon 79-70. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Keonta Vernon leads Grand Canyon past Texas-Rio Grande Valley

PHOENIX (AP) — Keonta Vernon scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Joshua Braun added 17 points, and Grand Canyon beat UT Rio Grande Valley 76-57 on Thursday night.

DeWayne Russell added 14 points, five rebounds, eight assists and four steals for Grand Canyon (16-9, 5-3 Western Athletic Conference). Vernon was 7 of 11 from the floor and Braun had five rebounds and five assists.

Grand Canyon built a 46-30 halftime lead and Russell’s no-look pass to Vernon for an up-and-under layup extended it to 62-39 with just under 13 minutes left. Rio Grande didn’t score its 11th point of the second half until the 9:36 mark.

Russell drove the right side and found Kenzo Nudo for a wide open 3-pointer in the left corner for a 67-45 lead with 7:25 to go.

Nick Dixon scored 23 points and Antonio Green added 10 for UT Rio Grande Valley (10-16, 2-7), which lost its fourth straight.


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