Photo by Martin A. Folb/Pepperdine Athletics
MALIBU, Calif. – Sophomore Gabe Rogers had a career-high 31 points and Cameron Jones added 23 points as the Northern Arizona men's basketball team won its fourth consecutive game with a 88-74 win over Pepperdine Sunday afternoon.
"Gabe took great shots tonight," said Head Coach Mike Adras on the Lumberjack Radio Network postgame show. "You have to credit the other guys. People were passing him the ball. Shooting is the easy part."
The Lumberjacks improved to 4-2 on the season, recording the first four-game win streak since NAU won six straight during the 2007-08 season. It was the first win for the program in Malibu against Pepperdine in 11 trips and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Waves.
"I feel pretty good about coming over here and playing really well," said Adras. 'We really out-played them in the last 4-5 minutes of the first half and that set the tone for the rest of the game. I don't think they really responded. It was a pretty good performance."
Rogers shattered his single-game career high with 31 points helped by seven three-pointers in a game he shot 12-for-18 from the game. The Houston, Texas, native had 20 points twice last season. He added a career-best tying four rebounds. Cameron Jones, who hails from Los Angeles, finished with 23 points, tying his career high with eight assists.
NAU led by as many as 10 points in a first half that featured nine ties and 12 lead changes. The Lumberjacks took the lead for good when they went on a 9-0 run to finish the half over the final 2:48. Junior Josh Lepley started the run with a tip-in with Rogers adding a three-pointer between two buckets by Jones, who had 17 of his 23 points in the first 20 minutes of the game.
"Cameron got off to a good start and Gabe took over in the second half especially," said Adras. "They came out and really took the fight to us a little bit. It knocked us back and once we recovered, we got some stops. I don't think we ever let off the gas pedal at that point."
NAU extended the lead to 20 over the first eight minutes of the second half helped by a 13-4 run after the first media time out. Pepperdine never closed the lead under 10 points of the rest of the game.
The Lumberjacks had a season-low six turnovers, the lowest single-game total for the program since 2005, while adding 28 assists. The plus-22 turnover-to-assist margin was the best for the team against a Division I opponent under Adras and best since a +21 performance against San Jose Christian in 2003.
"That is an incredible statistic and tells the whole story," said Adras.
Sophomore Stallon Saldivar led the Lumberjacks with nine assists, recording his third game of eight or more this season in six games. The Lumberjack starters had 22 turnovers to just one turnover in the game.
NAU played without Senior guard Eric Platt, who missed the game with food poisoning. He is expected to be available on Tuesday.
NAU continues its California road trip at Cal-State Bakersfield on Tuesday with tipoff scheduled for 8 p.m. Flagstaff time. The game can be heard on 105.1 FM The Big Talker in Flagstaff and heard on the internet at www.bigtalkerradio.com.