Undefeated Grand Canyon Falls to Toro Cagers, 81-73
Robert Barksdale scored 21 points and Anthony Blackmon added 20 points and 13 rebounds as Cal State Dominguez Hills defeated visiting Grand Canyon College, 81-73, in a non-conference game Thursday night.
It was the first loss for Grand Canyon (11-1), defending NAIA champion. Dominguez Hills, a Division II school, upped its record to 7-5 before a crowd of 221.
Both were without starters. Forward Kenyatta Kalisana of Dominguez Hills suffered a strained ligament last week in the Puget Sound Tournament.
Grand Canyon was without its leading scorer, Danl Williams.
“I don’t know if we can play the same way without Danl,” said first-year Grand Canyon Coach Bill Westphal, a graduate of Aviation High School.
Dominguez Hills Coach Dave Yanai said he feels the Toro offense is peaking at the right time. Dominguez Hills opens California Collegiate Athletic Conference play Jan. 13, hosting Chapman College.
“We did a good job recognizing the things offensively that they gave us,” Yanai said.
Dominguez Hills controlled the game in the first 20 minutes by way of its 3-point shooting. The Toros made 7 of 9 3-point attempts in the first half.
The Toros led by 11 points in the second half. Dominguez Hills, which has had trouble holding big leads, looked on the ropes briefly as Grand Canyon mounted a 14-5 run to tie the game at 53-53. Eight of those points came from former Mary Star of the Sea High guard Craig Johnson, who led all scorers with 31 points.