Utah Valley meets Grand Canyon in WAC semis
Grand Canyon (19-12, 11-6) vs. Utah Valley (24-8, 13-4)
Western Athletic Conference Tourney Semifinals, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas; Friday, 10:30 p.m. EDT
BOTTOM LINE: A ticket to the WAC championship game is about to be punched as Grand Canyon and Utah Valley are set to do battle. The teams split the regular season series at one win apiece. The teams last played each other on March 7, when the Wolverines outshot Grand Canyon 51.9 percent to 42.6 percent and hit six more 3-pointers en route to an 82-70 victory.
VETERAN PRESENCE: Senior leadership could play a big role in the outcome of this game. Jake Toolson, Conner Toolson, Baylee Steele, Ben Nakwaasah and TJ Washington have collectively accounted for 69 percent of Utah Valley’s scoring this season and 66 percent of the team’s points over its last five games. For Grand Canyon, Carlos Johnson, Michael Finke and Trey Drechsel have collectively scored 44 percent of the team’s points this season, including 63 percent of all Antelopes points over their last five.
JUMPING FOR JOHNSON: Johnson has connected on 29.6 percent of the 81 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 8 of 17 over his last three games. He’s also converted 77.7 percent of his foul shots this season.
WINLESS WHEN: Grand Canyon is 0-5 when scoring fewer than 66 points and 19-7 when scoring at least 66.
ASSIST DISTRIBUTION: The Wolverines have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Antelopes. Utah Valley has 46 assists on 76 field goals (60.5 percent) across its past three games while Grand Canyon has assists on 30 of 81 field goals (37 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: Utah Valley has attempted the second-most free throws among all WAC teams. The Wolverines have averaged 22.2 foul shots per game this season.