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By Liz Alper

Photo courtesy

December 7, 2016 (Phoenix) - Tonight, the San Diego State Aztecs men’s basketball team traveled to Phoenix to take on Grand Canyon, a small school with a big basketball team.

The two teams played a hotly contested game for the first 10 minutes, but with eight minutes left, Grand Canyon started to pull a little bit away.  The Aztecs were able to cut the lead to three at 24-21 with 7:26 left in the half.  But ultimately, the turnovers, fouls, missed free throws and offensive rebounds by the Antelopes are what came back to bite the Aztecs in the first half.  The fact that GCU kept hitting threes while the Aztecs attempted almost none didn’t help either.  They went to the half down by eight, 35-27.

The Aztecs spent the first eight minutes of the second half hot on the Lopes’ trail, but the Lopes hit three after three and the Aztecs found themselves down quickly 55-44.  Thanks to a crucial three by sophomore guard Jeremy Hemsley, the Aztecs were able to get within three, 55-52 with 11 minutes left.  Hemsley did the honors by hitting the tying three and the teams were knotted at 55 with 10 minutes left.  Around seven minutes to go, the game became a three pointer duel between Hemsley and Grand Canyon’s freshman guard Fiifi Aidoo.  Ultimately, Hemsley won and the Aztecs held a slight lead (as in three points) with four and a half minutes left.  But Aidoo isn't the only freshman on Grand Canyon who can make threes look easy.  Oscar Frayer hit two nail-in-the-coffin threes that put Grand Canyon up by three 74-71 on an 8-0 run with 2:36 left to play.  The Aztecs made it 74-72, but in the end, costly turnovers led to a Grand Canyon win  76-72.  Hemsley was ⅞ in threes and had 27 points on the night.

The Aztecs return to Viejas Arena to face Arizona State on Saturday afternoon.  Tipoff is at 4:00 p.m.

Box score

Postgame notes

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