GCU basketball team has to step up for conference play

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

The GCU Basketball team has waited a long time and now the shackles are off. The squad is officially eligible for this year's NCAA Tournament. 

In the preseason, the squad was picked to win the Western Athletic and Guard Josh Braun was picked to win Conference Player of the Year. Through 15 non-conference games, the Antelopes have posted a 10-5 record, 9 and 1 at home. Braun is averaging 13.6 points a game.

Now, the urgency ramps up for the team opening conference play Saturday, at 8 p.m. at much-improved 11-6 Seattle U. 

The squad has five players averaging double figures led by Matej Kavsas averaging 18 points a game. The squad plays well at home with a record of 10-1. 

Coach Dan Marjerle told me it will be a good test because the squad will play in a hostile environment against a team playing with confidence. 

Senior Forward Keonta Vernon also told me records don't matter this time of year.  Anyone can beat anyone if you don't come ready to play. 

GCU has to prove it can win on the road. So far, the team is win-less on the road going 0-3 and 1-1 in neutral sites.

The Lopes lost in double overtime at Boise State 85-80, were blown out at Louisville 74-56 and finished non-conference play losing at Illinois 62-58.

Playing better on the road has been an emphasis of the team and they know it. 

Marjerle told me he has talked a great deal to his squad about playing hard, staying focused and poised outside of Arizona. 

If the team wants to be the first in school history to make the NCAA Tournament it has to play better outside the state to have a chance. 

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