Josh Braun picked up where he finished Monday when he became Grand Canyon’s career leader in 3-pointers.

The 6-foot-4 senior guard nailed his first eight shots, including five 3-pointers, and had 22 of his 29 points in the first half of GCU’s 76-51 rout of Little Rock on Saturday night before a sellout crowd at GCU Arena.

Braun was perfect in the first half, going 8 for 8 from the field and converting his only free throw.

His first miss came on his first of three free throws after being hammered in the corner on a 3-point attempt with 16:47 left. He made the next two free throws. He missed his first field goal, a deep 3-point attempt, less than a minute later.

By then, the game was pretty much a done deal with GCU (3-0) leading 49-26.

Five takways

  • Braun’s torrid shooting overshadowed the Antelopes’ lock-down defense. They held Little Rock to just 25 percent shooting  in the half. After taking a 6-2 lead in the first three minutes, Little Rock missed its next six shots and scored just 17 points in the final 17 minutes of the half. It was 0 for 8 from 3-point land.
  • Coach Dan Majerle got a bit of a lift from backup point guard Shaq Carr after Casey Benson left with two turnovers in the first six minutes. Carr had four points in between all of the shots Braun was draining. Starters Benson, Oscar Frayer and Keonta Vernon were all on the bench when the Antelopes went on their big run that had them ahead 27-14 with 5:32 left. When Benson returned after Carr made two free throws, Benson nailed a 3 and GCU had its biggest lead, 32-14, with more than three minutes left in the half.
  • Benson’s confidence started with that 3, then noticeably soared to open the second half. He had a steal and a layup to open the half. A few moments later, he swished a 3. He had 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting, including 2 of 3 3-pointers.
  • Majerle is going with an 11-man rotation for now. This is the deepest bench he’s had, and he’s taking advantage of the depth with his ability to go big or small and get guys who are more defensive specialists on the floor, which is generating offense off turnovers and missed shots. GCU blocked eight shots. It will be interesting to see if he shortens it on Dec. 5 when the Antelopes have their first major test, playing St. John’s at Talking Stick Resort Arena in a late, late game at 9:30, following the Arizona-Texas A&M game.
  • This was GCU’s best ball-movement game. The Antelopes had 19 assists with six minutes left. And the assists were spread out. Vernon, Carr, Braun, Fiifi Aidoo and Frayer each had three assists up to that point with a 69-40 lead. Little Rock only had four assists as a team. They were a little better taking care of the ball. They had 18 turnovers, still too many in Majerle’s book. But it was an improvement over the last game when they had 21. 

Up next

GCU is back home Monday night to play Norfolk State at 7.

MORE: GCU lands highest-rated player in Dan Majerle coaching era

RELATED: Josh Braun breaks GCU record for career 3-pointers in win

Saturday’s game

Little Rock at Grand Canyon

When: 7 p.m.

Where: GCU Arena, Phoenix.

TV/Radio: YurView Cox 4, 1580 The Fanatic, 99.3 FM.

Update: GCU (2-0) is playing the third of six consecutive home games to begin the season. Eight of its first nine games are at home. The only road game during that stretch is at Talking Stick Resort Arena just a few miles away to take on St. John’s on Dec. 5. … The Antelopes have turned the ball over 38 times in their first two games. Guard Josh Braun leads the team in scoring after two games at 15.5 points. Casey Benson (10.5) and Oscar Frayer (10.5) also is averaging double figures scoring. … Little Rock (0-2) is coming off a 70-62 loss at Memphis on Tuesday. It outrebounded Memphis 31-28 and three players – Jaizec Lottie, Camron Reedus and Anthony Black – scored in double figures. Little Rock opened its season with a loss to Div. II Ouachita Baptist.

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