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Grand Canyon unable to rally, falls to UT Rio Grande Valley

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)

EDINBURG, Texas — Xavier McDaniel Jr. scored 17 points and made a key 3-pointer in the final minute to help UT Rio Grande Valley beat Grand Canyon 83-81 on Thursday night.

The Vaqueros (13-12, 4-4 Western Athletic Conference) have won three of their last four games. Grand Canyon (17-8, 6-3) had its two-game win streak snapped, and drops a half-game back of Utah Valley (17-7, 6-2) for second in the conference standings.

McDaniel’s 3-pointer gave the Vaqueros an 80-79 lead with 51 seconds left. The teams traded a pair of free throws to make it 82-81. Mike Hoffman made the second of two free-throw attempts to stretch the Vaqueros lead to 83-81 with six seconds to play, and Grand Canyon’s Alessandro Lever missed a layup at the buzzer.

Nick Dixon scored 22 points to lead UT Rio Grande Valley.

Lever shot just 4 of 12 from the field, but made 14 of 16 free throws and finished with 22 points to lead the Antelopes. Casey Benson added 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

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