March Madness: No. 12 Grand Canyon rolls through No. 5 Saint Mary's to become latest double-digit seed to advance

Like James Madison right before them, Grand Canyon entered Friday as a No. 12 seed and proceeded to not like look a No. 12 seed.

The Antelopes defeated No. 5 St. Mary's 75-66 in the final game of the first round, notching the first March Madness win in program history. GCU, a for-profit institution, moved to Division I in 2013.

Waiting for Grand Canyon in the second round will be No. 4 seed Alabama, which survived a 109-96 shootout with Charleston earlier in the day.

Tyon Grant-Foster led all scorers with 22 points on 6-of-13 shooting, plus seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

The Antelopes are the eighth double-digit seed to advance in a tournament that has gone very badly for No. 5 and 6 seeds. That group of eight teams went 3-5 in the opening round, with the majority falling to underdogs that were by and large more energetic and, in some cases, clearly underseeded.

The Grand Canyon crowd certainly brought the energy and numbers to Spokane.

The game started as a complete back-and-forth, with neither team taking a lead larger than four points in the first half. That kind of frame is always a win for the underdog, especially with Grand Canyon showing an athleticism and playmaking rarely seen from the Western Athletic Conference.

The Antelopes entered halftime with a 28-27 lead, then took control early in the second half with a 17-1 run. That put Saint Mary's in an uncomfortable position, as the slowest-paced team by KenPom's tempo rating in the tournament field. The Gaels had previously lost only once in 2024, but they were facing a different animal in this case, especially on defense where Grand Canyon finished with eight steals and nine blocks.

They did their best, though, cutting the lead to as little as five points late, but it didn't get any closer than that.