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Chicago State Returns Home to Face Grand Canyon | The Catch and Shoot

Chicago State Returns Home to Face Grand Canyon

Photo: AP | Al Behrman
Photo: AP | Al Behrman

Chicago State (9-11, 4-2 WAC) returns to its home court Thursday to host Grand Canyon (9-10, 4-2). It will be the first-ever meeting between the Cougars and the Antelopes.

Chicago State began WAC play at 3-0 but has since lost two of three games. The Cougars and the Antelopes are now tied for second place, along with New Mexico State.

Grand Canyon has been playing some of its best basketball in recent games. The Antelopes defeated Idaho and Seattle in their recent home stand, and they also won at Cal State Bakersfield on Jan. 9. Their only loss in their last four games is at unbeaten Utah Valley, 65-58.

Grand Canyon, coached by former NBA All-Star Dan Majerle, has a pair of veterans leading the way in senior Killian Larson and junior Jerome Garrison.

Larson leads the Antelopes in scoring with 15.3 points per game, but he has been even more dominant on the glass with 11.1 rebounds per contest. He leads the WAC in defensive rebounding percentage and ranks No. 2 in offensive rebounding percentage. Larson has posted 13 double-doubles this season, including in his last two games.

Larson’s 6’9″, 268-pound body causes issues for many teams in the WAC. Part of what makes him such a difficult matchup is he shoots 78.3% at the foul line. He has not missed more than two free throws in a game since Dec. 3.

Garrison is one of the nation’s leaders in minutes. To give an idea of how much the Antelopes rely on his presence, he has played all 40 minutes in seven of Grand Canyon’s last eight games.

Garrison averages 15.1 points, and like Larson, he gets to the free throw line a ton. In his last three games, he is averaging 14.7 free throws attempts. And he has converted 88.6% of them.

Junior Daniel Alexander, a Texas A&M transfer, became eligible midseason. He has started in all 11 of his games and has had a major impact, averaging 12.5 points and 5.7 boards.

Alexander is also the Antelopes’ best three-point threat at 28-of-67 (41.8%) on the season.

Senior Blake Davis gives Grand Canyon another formidable option in the frontcourt. Davis averages 9.2 points and 4.5 rebounds, and 87 of his 136 shot attempts have come from beyond the arc.

Grand Canyon plays primarily man-to-man defense, against which Chicago State has performed well this season.

Against WAC teams with defensive fingerprints listed as “mostly man” on kenpom.com, the Cougars are 3-0.

Thursday’s tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.

 

All advanced statistics are courtesy of KenPom.

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on SI.com, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.


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