March 20, 2023

The Lancers began their journey in a new conference this year when they joined the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division II Pacific West Conference, but an old rival was already there waiting for them.

The Grand Canyon University (GCU) ‘Lopes used to be one of the Lancers most notorious rivals that they even took part in an all out brawl during a Lancers homecoming game.

At the time, the two schools were the only southern Baptist colleges west of Texas.

Current GCU athletic director, Keith Baker attended that homecoming game as the sports information director for the school.

Baker recalled that the presidents from both schools got together to pacify the situation between the two schools.

“The president at CBU and our president tried not to make a bigger thing out of it than it was. This is just a stand alone event that happened that got out of hand,” Baker said.

In 1984, Grand Canyon College came to a packed Van Dyne Field House to face off with the Lancers at the California Baptist College homecoming game.

The night ended in a “brawl that cleared both team benches,” according to a Feb. 1984 issue of the CBU Banner.

With only a four-point difference in the last 2 minutes of the game, things got ugly as tempers flared and players were ejected.

GCC coach John Shumate was allegedly involved in a verbal argument with a CBC player, which got both teams riled up.

“John Shumate…started a shouting match with [James] Fuller. This brought both teams to their feet. Fuller was given a technical for his outburst,” according to the Banner article.

A CBC player was ejected after committing a foul that began the brawl that cleared both benches.

“Tucker and CBC’s Willie Walker tangled and started the bench-clearing brawl. The fight was taken into the weight room at the south end of the gym and was finally broken up.”

Alumni, parents and prospective students witnessed the fight that left some players with torn uniforms and one player with a cracked nose.

The game ended in GCC’s favor, 62-52 and was the only time the schools faced each other for the next six years. The two schools had been competing against each other since 1957.

In men’s basketball, GCU has held CBU to a record lowest scoring game of 26 points and holds an overall record of 51 wins with 11 losses against the Lancers.

Now that both schools are back in the same conference, GCU sees CBU as a formidable opponent.

Baker said that GCU sees Cal Baptist as a team to beat because of the history of success “and the teams that are coming in from the GSAC [are] very formidable in terms of the on field, on court competition.”

“No doubt that all the teams over there have excelled. I think there’s a good deal of healthy respect for them coming into the league.”

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