AMES, Iowa – The Northern Arizona men's basketball team was unable to overcome a sluggish start, dropping its first contest of the season to Iowa State (1-0), 78-64, from the Hilton Coliseum Friday night. The Lumberjacks (0-1) will continue the Midwest portion of the Global Sports Hy-Vee Challenge Sunday afternoon when they take on Creighton in Omaha, Neb.
"We didn't get off to a good start, that is for sure," head coach Mike Adras said. "I thought we took good shots, but just didn't make them. Iowa State on the other hand was hitting everything."
The Lumberjacks had no answer for Iowa State's Jamie Vanderbeken and Diante Garrett. The duo combined for all of the Cyclones' points in the first half as both players nailed eight three pointers, and shot 53 percent from behind the arc. Vanderbeken closed out the game with a career-high six treys and 23 points.
After being held scoreless on nine shot attempts in the first half, senior Cameron Jones led the Lumberjacks in scoring with 15 second-half points. Fellow senior Shane Johannsen chipped in 14 points, six rebounds, two blocks and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field.
"I am proud of Shane because I was debating if I play him or rest him," Adras said of the Phoenix native who suffered a sprained ankle earlier in the week. "You look at the numbers he put up and he was terrific. You expect that."
"You look at the guys who did play well for us tonight. It's senior Shane Johannsen. It's senior Eric Platt. It's senior Cam Jones," Adras said of his upperclassmen. "Our younger guys didn't play too well for us. We just played jittery tonight."
Both Johannsen and Platt (12 points) came off the bench for the Lumberjacks.
NAU outscored the Cyclones in the second half, 44-43, and finished the game shooting 41 percent from the field. The Lumberjacks won the rebounding battle, 37-35, and pulled down 12 offensive boards.
Friday night's season opener was the first game in a NAU uniform for both junior Durrell Norman and sophomore Austin Smith. Norman ended the game with a team-high seven rebounds to go along with four points in 15 minutes. Smith started the game for the Lumberjacks, and put up the first points of the season for the team.
After Sunday's game at Creighton, the Lumberjacks return to Arizona to take on Alabama State at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Tuesday night.