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Men’s Basketball Drops Weber State Contest; Heads to Idaho State

Men’s Basketball Drops Weber State Contest; Heads to Idaho State

OGDEN, Utah – The Northern Arizona men’s basketball team was defeated by Weber State for the second time this season 76-66 Friday night at the Dee Events Center. The Lumberjacks were undone by 19 turnovers and a big run by the Wildcats that broke open a close game in the second half.

“I thought the tougher team won the ball game tonight,” said Head Coach Mike Adras. “They played more physical than we did and that really bothered us. A couple guys showed up to play and a couple did not show up to play.”

Weber State (16-8, 10-2) defeated NAU earlier this season with a similar storyline with a 21-6 run midway through the second half for an 87-62 victory at the Walkup Skydome.

NAU (11-12, 5-7 Big Sky) fought back into the game with a strong start in the second half, out-scoring the Wildcats 12-2 with a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to four points at 42-38. Weber answered with back-to-back three pointers by Damian Lillard and Nick Hansen.

It sparked a 14-0 run and the Wildcats led by 18 points just as quick as the Lumberjacks had cut the lead with their run. NAU never got any closer than 10 points the rest of the game as Weber State swept the regular season series with the Lumberjacks for the second consecutive season.

“I thought we defended pretty well except for the turnovers that resulted in breakaway layups,” said Adras. “It hurt us. Again it was not being able to contain penetration.”

Cameron Jones led the Lumberjacks with 24 points to go with four rebounds and four steals. DeAngelo Jones added 12 points and Josh Lepley contributed 11 points.

Lillard and Franklin Session combined for 48 points against the Lumberjacks. Lillard had a game-high 26 points with five assists, while Session scored 22 points with eight steals, the best single-game total in a Big Sky game this season.

“Damian Lillard took over for them,” said Adras. “It is big to have a guy who hits shots for you when your team is rattled and needs a play. He made play after play. The difference was the two guards, Lillard and Session. Not only offensively but we handed the ball over too many times.”

NAU shot 55 percent from the field with five three-pointers, while Weber State converted 51 percent with 10 three-pointers and 16 steals. The Wildcats scored 25 points off the 19 NAU turnovers in the contest.

“You can not win when you turn the ball over 19 times,” said Adras.

NAU trailed 37-28 at the half after committing 11 turnovers in the opening period with the help of 11 steals by the Wildcats. Cameron Jones scored 16 points in the first half, hitting 7-of-11 shots. The Lumberjacks led early in the contest but Weber State built a 10-point lead 10 minutes into the game. NAU cut the lead to 25-24 but was out-scored 12-4 over the final seven minutes of the half that included a 12-0 run by the Wildcats.

NAU travels to Pocatello, Utah, to face Idaho State Saturday night. Idaho State lost to Northern Colorado Friday night 68-59, entering Saturday’s game with a 6-18 overall record and 3-9 in Big Sky play.

“It is a must game for them and a must game for us,” said Adras. “There is no other way to describe it. Hopefully we are ready to play and salvage the road trip.”

The game can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network on KAFF AM 930 in Flagstaff and seen on the internet on Big Sky TV. Fans outside of Flagstaff can also listen to the game on the internet with the call by Mitch Strohman on Stretch Internet.

DID YOU KNOW…The Lumberjacks’ 3.16 cumulative GPA was the highest since department grades have been tracked starting in 1997 and marked the 11th semester in the last 12 overall the NAU student-athletes have recorded a 3.00 cumulative GPA. Since 1998, NAU student athletes have earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher in 21 of the 23 semesters.

Team Behind the Team
December 14, 2009 Team Behind the Team