Last in NCAA: Never
Head Coach: Dan Majerle
Record at School: 5-5 (first year)
The Grand Canyon Antelopes are 5-5, with three wins over non-D1 competition. But that is not to say that they have struggled. In fact, they have played some very close games against D1 teams. They beat Lamar and Savannah State on a neutral floor, and get one neutral court game in this tournament. They lost by three against Loyola Marymount, eleven to San Diego, two to Northern Arizona and one to Tulsa. Of course, there was a 25 point loss to Utah in there too, but basically, the Antelopes have been playing close games.
Killian Larson is going to be one of the best players in the Dr Pepper Classic. The 6-9, 268 pound senior is averaging 15.2 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. He is shooting nearly 55% from the floor. Of course, his numbers drop 12.9 and 12.0 against D1 teams. That does include six points and five rebounds against Utah. He had 17 rebounds against Savannah State and 16 rebounds against Lamar. He is going to be a beast to handle for any team in the Dr Pepper Classic.
Demetrius Walker is actually the Antelopes leading scorer. Ironically, he missed the two wins against Lamar and Savannah State. He is a 6-2 senior. He had 26 points and 17 rebounds against Vanguard. He is averaging 18.1 points per game and shooting 29.8% from three point range. This is the third different university he has been at. He started at Arizona State, then moved onto New Mexico before coming to Grand Canyon this year as a graduate student. He was a decent three point shooter at New Mexico, shooting 36.6% in two years there, including 40% last year.
Jerome Garrison is also averaging 12.6 points per game.
The Antelopes rank in the Top 100 in defensive rebounding percentage in the country. They actually are a pretty good defensive team. They are not a great offensive team. They have not allowed more than the 79 points in any game this year (against Utah). They also don't force many turnovers and commit a turnover on more than one out of five possessions. They shoot 35.0% from three point range, good for 125th in the country.
An interesting situation. This team is good enough to beat any team in the Dr Pepper Classic in the right situation. That being said, they are going to have a difficult time beating both Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee (the presumed winner of Maine on the first night) on back-to-back nights in virtual road games.
The Antelopes play New Mexico on December 23. They have a long way to come across the country, and playing two schools from Tennessee on back-to-back nights could be challenging. If they lost to Chattanooga, would they beat Maine? More than likely. There is a small chance of a fourth place finish, and a small chance of a first place finish due to the challenge of two straight nights in road games. So, their place of finish likely comes down to if they beat Chattanooga or not on the first night. That game is going to be very difficult to predict. Not sure how the Mocs handle Larson. So a second or third place game is the most likely finish for Grand Canyon.