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Vernon leads Lopes to big victory over Kangaroos

Grand Canyon head coach Dan Majerle reacts to a call from a game official during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 74-56. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

PHOENIX — Keonta Vernon had 18 points and Oscar Frayer pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds as Grand Canyon raced past UMKC 79-62 on Thursday night, giving GCU its fifth win in the last six games.

The teams traded 7-0 runs early, and there were six ties to go along with five lead changes in the first half. Casey Benson scored six of his 14 for the Lopes (16-7, 5-2 Western Athletic) in the midst of a 10-0 run to put them up 12 as time wound down before the break.

The Kangaroos (6-18, 1-6) never got closer than 10 from that point on, as the final 17-point margin matched GCU’s largest lead of the night. UMKC has lost four straight.

GCU controlled the boards for most of the evening, outrebounding UMKC 45-24, including a 13-6 margin on the offensive boards.

Broderick Robinson led the Kangaroos with 16 points and Brandon McKissic added 15.

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