PHOENIX – The stage was set Saturday for Grand Canyon to pull off another buzzer beater against Dixie State under the bright lights of the GCU Arena. In a scene that could have seamlessly fit in the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day”, the Lopes had a shot at the end of the game to win.
But when Joshua Lowery’s 12-foot jumper from the left elbow ricocheted off the front iron and into the hands of McKay Massey, Dixie State College successfully completed what 13 others teams could not do this season – defeat the Lopes on their home court.
Zach Robbins had 14 points and nine rebounds leading Dixie State to a 65-64 win in Pacific West Conference play.
Dixie’s seventh straight win snapped GCU’s 23-game home winning streak dating back to December 17, 2011. The Red Storm improve to 14-4 on the year and 9-1 in the PacWest.
The Lopes drop to 17-5, 8-3 in the league and fell for only the second time in the regular season at the GCU Arena since its unveiling two years ago.
GCU opened the game with the first four points before Dixie State made its next four shots en route to a 9-0 run. Shooting went cold for the Storm after that, as they connected on three of their next 17 attempts. GCU took a five-point lead, 30-25, at the half thanks to a combined 19 points from Jerome Garrison and Blake Davis.
After surrending the opening bucket of the second half, Dixie State went on another 9-0 run to take the lead, 34-32.
The half saw seven lead changes including the Lopes going back ahead 43-41 at the 14:45 mark. DSC began a momentum shifting 10-0 run with a Robbins lay-in and capped it with five free throws from Brandon Simister, DeQuan Thompson and Derek Owen.
DSC built its lead to as many as nine, but GCU rallied back within three points on a couple of occasions. A Robbins jumper with 1:10 accounted for the last DSC points and a 65-60 lead.
GCU got a 3-pointer from Justin Foreman to cut the lead to two. After a Davis steal, Lowery was fouled and had a chance to tie the game with charity shots. Lowery made the first but missed the second. The rebound fell into the hands of Garrison and set up the final play for GCU.
Lowery took the inbound, drove off a screen and fired from the elbow. The shot fell short and accounted for Massey’s eighth rebound.
Owen had nine points and Thompson added eight helping the Red Storm bench outscore GCU’s 23-15.
Dixie State shot 52 percent (13-25) in the second half to salvage a 43 percent shooting night (20-of-46). The nation’s leading 3-point percentage club hit four of nine (44.4 percent) from distance and went 75 percent from the foul line (21-of-28).
The battle of the boards ended in a 34-34 stalemate, despite GCU corralling 14 offensive rebounds. Garrison led three GCU players in double figures with 16 points.
Dixie State returns home Tuesday night for its second meeting of the year with Fresno Pacific. The Sunbirds handed DSC its lone PacWest loss, 82-80, on Dec. 8 in Fresno. FPU has won seven straight games by scoring 83 or more points in each.
Tip time at the Burns Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
John Potter is the "Voice of the Red Storm" and an athletic media relation assistant at Dixie State College. Contact him at Potter@dixie.edu.