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Men’s Basketball Drops Big Sky Home Opener to Northern Colorado

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona men’s basketball team fell short in its Big Sky home opener losing to Northern Colorado 75-66 Saturday night at the Walkup Skydome.

Northern Colorado, ranked No. 19 in the Collegeinsider.com Mid Major poll, improved to 13-3 overall and 2-1 in Big Sky play, while NAU dropped to 6-8, 0-3 on the season.

The Lumberjacks shot just 26 percent in the first half while making only six field goals but stayed in the game at the free throw line, hitting 13-of-14 attempts in the half. NAU trailed 33-27 at the half while holding the Bears to a 34 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Senior Nick Larson scored 12 of his team-best 20 points in the first half with junior Cameron Jones adding 10.

“We hit our first two baskets in the first half but only had four field goals the rest of the half and we struggled from that point on,” said Head Coach Mike Adras. “Fortunately we did get ourselves to the free throw line and we converted those to keep it close at halftime.”

After Larson opened the second half with a trey to cut the lead to three points, the Bears extended the lead to nine with a 6-0 run and eventually led by 12 at 51-39 with 13:34 left but could not pull away. NAU cut the lead to eight several times in the second half but failed to get any closer in the contest.

Eric Platt scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half but hit just 3-of-10 shots in the game. Redshirt freshman Gabe Rogers also struggled from the field, hitting 1-of-10 field goals while going 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.

Larson finished 6-for-9 from the field with a perfect night from three (4-for-4) and at the line (4-for-4) with eight rebounds and a career-best four blocks. Cameron Jones had 15 points in the contest.

“This was an important game for us tonight,” said Adras. ‘We lost an opportunity to take care of our home court. We have to get that back next week.”

For the game, NAU shot just 37 percent after an improved second half (45 percent).

Northern Colorado’s Will Figures had a game-high 21 points highlighted by 10-for-10 night at the line. The Bears made 25-of-29 attempts at the line on the night.

NAU continues play at home this week with a pair of conference games against Idaho State and Weber State. The Lumberjacks return to the court Thursday, Jan. 7 against Idaho State at 6:05 p.m.