ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — Alessandro Lever scored 23 points as Grand Canyon narrowly beat Illinois State 68-63 in the Paradise Jam on Monday.
GCU led for 35 of the 40 minutes. Jovan Blacksher Jr. gave the Lopes a 62-57 lead with 3:49 to go on a driving three-point play and Lever made an up-and-under basket to make it 64-61. J.J. Rhymes had a key offensive rebound, and Isiah Brown and Rhymes made and two free throws apiece.
Brown added a career-high 21 points and Blacksher had 10 points and six rebounds for Grand Canyon (3-5). Rhymes added 10 points in his first Division I start.
Zach Copeland tied a career high with 21 points for the Redbirds (2-4), whose losing streak reached four games. Dedric Boyd added 10 points, and Jaycee Hillsman had seven rebounds.
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