LAS VEGAS — Gabe McGlothan scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Grand Canyon to an 81-47 win over Seattle in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday.
Grand Canyon advances to its third straight WAC championship game with hopes of finally gaining the NCAA Tournament for the first time. New Mexico State beat the Lopes in 2018 and 2019, The coronavirus pandemic halted the WAC tourney a year ago.
Grand Canyon will play New Mexico State (13-7) for the title. NMSU beat Utah Valley 78-62.
“Credit Grand Canyon, they shot the ball very, very well,” Seattle U coach Jim Hayford said. “We started the game well, went on an 8-0 run and got their attention. Then they came back with force, and our guys got rattled.
“When you take teams through these postseasons you need to get to a level that the program feels hungry to want more.”
The Antelopes were down 8-0 in the early going but needed little more than a minute to catch up on a basket by Asbjorn Midtgaard and back-to-back 3-pointers from Alessandro Lever and Oscar Frayer. By halftime Grand Canyon was up 22.
Jovan Blacksher Jr. had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists for top-seeded Grand Canyon (16-6). Chance McMillian added 14 points. Midtgaard had four blocks.
Riley Grigsby had 15 points for the fifth-seeded Redhawks (12-11). Darrion Trammell added 12 points.
“This team got better every week,” Hayford said. “And so it’s disappointing that we didn’t play our best game of basketball tonight. But they got a winning record, they got to the semifinals, they got a season of basketball that took a lot of sacrifice from the administration, sports medicine staff, my staff, the strength and conditioning staff, just to make a season happen during a pandemic. I’m very, very grateful to all those people, and I’m excited about where the program is going.”