GCU gets No. 14 seed in West Region at Big Dance, to play No. 3 Gonzaga

Mar 12, 2023, 3:33 PM | Updated: 4:51 pm

The Grand Canyon Antelopes bench celebrates a basket in the final seconds of the game against the S...

The Grand Canyon Antelopes bench celebrates a basket in the final seconds of the game against the Sam Houston Bearkats at the Orleans Arena on March 10, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Antelopes defeated the Bearkats 78-75. (Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images)

(Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images)

Grand Canyon University basketball is dancing at the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history after defeating Southern Utah 84-66 in the WAC Tournament final on Saturday.

Following a 24-11 season and an automatic bid into the Big Dance, GCU was given a No. 14 seed in the West Region and will square off against No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs on Friday in Denver, Colo., at 4:35 p.m.

This is the second tournament appearance for third-year head coach Bryce Drew, but this squad accomplished it in a much different way this season.

The winner of the GCU-Gonzaga would face the winner of No. 6 TCU vs. the winner of a play-in game between Arizona State and Nevada.

In Drew’s first campaign in 2020-21, the Antelopes went 17-7 en route to both the WAC regular season and tournament championships. The team fell to Iowa in the first round of the tournament.

This year, the team started off 7-4 after losing two-straight games to LMU and North Texas. GCU rattled off four-straight wins including a road victory over conference regular season champion Sam Houston.

The Antelopes found an identity behind the school’s new all-time leading scorer in Rayshon Harrison. Harrison averaged 17.7 points per game, four rebounds and 3.6 assists and led the team in scoring in 20 of 35 games the year.

Harrison and the Antelopes finished the regular season winning six of their last seven games. GCU finished 24-11 (the worst win percentage in Drew’s tenure) and received the No. 5 seed for the conference tournament.

GCU got matched up with Seattle University in the second round of the tournament, a squad that got the best of the Phoenix team twice in the regular season. The Antelopes got a major effort from Gabe McGlothan who dumped in 35 points in the 84-79 win.

Drew and the squad again played a tight game against No. 1 seed Sam Houston but took down the Bearkats for the second time of the season.

The Antelopes looked like a team destined for the Big Dance in the final, steamrolling Southern Utah 84-66.

This will be Drew’s fifth time coaching in the NCAA Tournament, after he took Horizon League’s Valparaiso twice in five seasons, earned an automatic bid with Vanderbilt in the 2016-17 season and now two with GCU.

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