These season openers are supposed to be a chance to air it out for the first time, a chance to see what two months of practice can do for you.
But when the opponent you face in your opener comes in with three games under its belt, you'd better have what you were there to look at ready to go in a hurry.
Cal State Dominguez Hills Coach David Yanai wasn't making excuses after Grand Canyon College (3-1) defeated the host Toros, 72-67, Wednesday night, but a lack of game experience certainly played a part in the outcome.
"I'm not going to make excuses," Yanai said. "I thought we should have had this game."
Indeed, the Toros held a two-point lead with 43 seconds to go in regulation and the shot clock turned off. But with 26 seconds to go and the ball in the Toros' court, junior guard Derrick Clark was trapped by guards Rodney Johns and Dan Williams of Grand Canyon. Clark was called for traveling as he fought his way free and that set up a rare four-point play six seconds later by the Antelopes' Gary Ware. Ware, a 6-6 forward, connected on a three-point shot and was fouled by Anthony Blackmon. He sank the free throw to give Grand Canyon the lead, 66-64.