Grand Canyon, UTRGV meet in conference play

Grand Canyon (8-12, 3-3) vs. Texas Rio Grande Valley (6-13, 2-4)

UTRGV Fieldhouse, Edinburg, Texas; Thursday, 8 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: WAC foes meet as Grand Canyon takes on Texas Rio Grande Valley. Grand Canyon fell 73-69 to Utah Valley in its last outing. Texas Rio Grande Valley lost 67-62 to New Mexico State in its most recent game.

STEPPING UP: Alessandro Lever and Carlos Johnson have led the Antelopes. Lever is averaging 15.8 points and 6.1 rebounds while C. Johnson is putting up 15.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. The Vaqueros have been led by seniors Lesley Varner II and Jordan Jackson, who have combined to score 29 points per outing.

WAC IMPROVEMENT: The Vaqueros have scored 72.7 points per game across six conference games, an improvement from the 65.2 per game they recorded against non-conference opponents.ACCURATE ALESSANDRO: Lever has connected on 39.7 percent of the 58 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 5 of 13 over his last five games. He’s also converted 74.6 percent of his free throws this season.

WINLESS WHEN: The Antelopes are 0-7 when they score 62 points or fewer and 8-5 when they exceed 62 points. The Vaqueros are 0-12 when they fail to score more than 74 points and 6-1 on the season, otherwise.

ACCOUNTING FOR ASSISTS: The Vaqueros have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Antelopes. Texas Rio Grande Valley has 41 assists on 76 field goals (53.9 percent) across its past three outings while Grand Canyon has assists on 33 of 72 field goals (45.8 percent) during its past three games.

DID YOU KNOW: The disruptive Texas Rio Grande Valley defense has forced opponents to turn the ball over on 25.2 percent of all possessions, the 13th-best rate among Division I teams. Grand Canyon has a forced-turnover percentage of only 17.5 percent through 20 games (ranking the Antelopes 300th).