Jackson’s 19 lead GCU past Utah Valley in WAC opener
PHOENIX — Matt Jackson scored 19 points and Alessandro Lever scored 14 and Grand Canyon beat Utah Valley 71-60 in a Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams Thursday night.
Grand Canyon (8-6) closed out the first half with a 12-4 run in the last 5½ minutes to lead 36-27 at the break. Connor MacDougall made a layup with 14:10 to go and Utah Valley came as close as 42-40 before Lever converted a 3-point play. McDougall added a pair of free throws later to reduce the Wolverines’ deficit to 49-48 but they’d never get closer.
Carlos Johnson added 10 points for the Lopes. Both teams struggled shooting from the field (each were 38 percent) but made up for it at the foul line; Utah Valley 15 of 16 and GCU 19 of 24.
Benjamin Nakwaasah scored 15 for Utah Valley (11-5) and Baylee Steele scored 12.