The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Grand Canyon wreaks bracket ‘havoc,’ beats Saint Mary’s in round one

Students, band and fans, lead Antelopes to victory
GCU players embrace after taking down Saint Mary’s, March 22, in Spokane, Wash.

In the loudest game of the day, Grand Canyon completed another Spokane upset as they took down Saint Mary’s. Despite shooting just 28% from deep, Canyon got a career night from Tyon Grant-Foster to secure the win, a 75-66 win. 

“It’s cool to have the world see what we’re capable of, what GCU is capable of,” GCU forward Gabe McGlothan said.

Grant-Foster scored 22 points in the win, and while not a career-high, serves as yet another fantastic game for another player in the NCAA Tournament with an amazing story. 

He started his collegiate career as a junior college player before making his first transfer to play for Kansas. After not getting the playing time he desired, he made his way to DePaul.

In a game during his first season there, he collapsed in the locker room during halftime and needed to be revived three times on the journey to the hospital. After taking years off playing basketball, he finally got the opportunity to play again at GCU.

He’s had a fantastic season already, but his 22-point outburst to lead the team to victory has been the cherry on top for his story, which gave the fans another reason to cheer. 

Bringing the biggest congruent of students of any of the eight teams in Spokane, each of the Antelopes points came with an explosion of noise from the crowd. 

“Having the Havocs backing us is like having an extra teammate out there at all times,” GCU guard Ray Harrison said. 

The GCU Havoc crew during the NCAA Tournament, March 22, in Spokane, Wash.

The win is the next step for the program. Under head coach Bryce Drew the ‘Lopes have had four consecutive winning seasons, with making the second round of the Tournament being the next step. 

“This was the next step in the maturation of a winning program. This is a huge step for people to realize how special a school GCU is,” Drew said.  

GCU led for the entire second half, with Saint Mary’s last lead coming with just over 2:00 left in the first half. After what was a relatively back-and-forth slugfest of a first half, the ‘Lopes scored 47 in the second half and built as much as a 17-point lead with the final 12 minutes of play. 

Saint Mary’s looked like a different team. After a successful season, including wins over Gonzaga in both the regular season and the WCC Championship, they were back in Spokane for the first round. 

Already having the uphill battle of the insane GCU student turnout, many Spokane natives booed for their school’s rival, leading in part to an uncharacteristic fall of the team. 

“I thought we lost composure a little bit there, we could have a done a better job executing our stuff like we normally do,” Saint Mary’s center Mitchell Saxen said.

Harrison scored 15 points in the second half alone, with Grant-Foster not far behind with 13 points in the final 20 minutes.

Harrison had some struggles from the field, shooting just 5-of-13 and missing both of his three-point attempts. But, going 7-of-8 from the free throw line, he ended his night with 17 total points to go along with six assists and three rebounds. 

Despite going down as many as 17 points, Saint Mary’s kept themselves in the game. They cut the lead down to six points with 5:24 remaining, showing they were going to be a tough out no matter what had happened early in the game. 

“It never felt like we were going to stop fighting. That’s why it hurts so much to lose with this group. It hurts for all the right reasons, man,” Saxen said. “That’s whats great about college basketball and that’s what sucks about it.” 

Saint Mary’s center Mitchell Saxen passes the ball to guard Aidan Mahaney during a first-round match against GCU, March 22, 2024, in Spokane, Wash.

A major factor in the GCU win became their ability to hit their free throws. Nailing 28-of-36 of their attempts, they not only shot more than 20 free throws more than their opponents but hit nearly 20% more of them. 

The Antelopes and the Havocs will be back in action Sunday, having the willpower to upset another team en route to a Sweet 16 appearance.

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About the Contributors
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.