Grand Canyon University hoops star Oscar Frayer -- who scored 8 points in his team's NCAA Tournament game Saturday -- died in a car crash Tuesday ... school officials confirmed.
He was just 23 years old.
Frayer was one of three people riding inside of an SUV at around 2:30 AM Tuesday in Lodi, Calif. when California Highway Patrol officials said it veered off the road and slammed into a CHP patrol vehicle.
Officials say the SUV then continued onward, struck a tree and became fully engulfed in flames. All 3 passengers in the SUV -- which included Frayer's older sister, Andrea Moore -- tragically died.
The CHP says two of its officers were injured in the wreck, but are expected to survive. CHP officials added "both will have a long road to recovery and we will eagerly await their return to full duty."
Frayer -- a senior this year -- is regarded as one of "the most accomplished players" in GCU basketball history, according to school officials ... and the team mourned his death in a lengthy statement released Thursday night.
"He was the heartbeat of our team with his vibrant, energetic personality," GCU men's basketball head coach Bryce Drew said.
"I cannot put into words the hurt and sadness we all feel, but we know he is in heaven and that gives us great joy to know we will be together again."
Frayer played 26 minutes in GCU's loss to Iowa on Saturday. The Lopes entered the tournament as a #15 seed.
I bleed purple FOREVER!!!! THANK YOU LOPE NATION for the last 5 years..it’s been nothing less than amazing..from President Mueller, to our coaching staff, to my brothers who I compete with everyday..it’s love FOREVER. 4 Gone🤘🏿💜
The game was the 107th career start for Frayer at GCU ... and he had tweeted after the loss, "I bleed purple FOREVER!!!! THANK YOU LOPE NATION for the last 5 years..it’s been nothing less than amazing."