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December 11, 2010

Men’s Basketball Tests USC, Falls 60-52 in Los Angeles

Boxscore vs. USC (PDF)

Photo by Rich Schmitt

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Northern Arizona men's basketball team had their seven-game winning streak snapped at USC on Saturday, dropping a 60-52 decision to the Trojans at the Galen Center.

"I am proud of our guys," said Adras on the Lumberjack Radio Network postgame show. "We have been playing pretty good defense this year and I think we did a good job."

NAU held the Trojans, who were averaging 70 points per game and shooting 46 percent, to 60 points and 39 percent from the field.

The Lumberjacks (7-3) trailed by 12 points early in the second half but cut the lead down to three at 40-37 at the 9:37 mark behind the shooting of sophomore Gabe Rogers, who made five three-pointers in the second half. He finished with a team-best 20 points, going 6-for-11 from beyond the arc with a career-high six rebounds.

"Gabe Rogers loves the state of California," said Adras. "He came out of the gates in the second half and really shot the ball well. They were not going to let Gabe get a shot the rest of the way."

Cameron Jones was held in check with 10 points with a 4-for-14 performance from the field. Eric Platt added seven points off the bench and Shane Johannsen had four points and six rebounds. Sophomore Austin Smith contributed six points and a team-best seven rebounds.

The Trojans' Donte Smith scored a career- and game-high 22 points. After NAU cut the lead, the Trojans went on a 14-3 run over the next four minutes to extend the lead back to a game-high 14 points with 5:33 left in the game. Smith scored all 14 points during the run.

"He made big shots for them," said Adras of Smith. "When we closed that gap to a few points, they ran two successive plays and he came up with some big baskets."

NAU fought back again with a 7-0 run led by five points from Platt to trail by seven and eventually cut it to six but never got any closer.

"There were some very nice things that happened for us today," said Adras.

UC Head Coach Kevin O'Neill was impressed with the Lumberjacks.

"That is a really good team," said O'Neill. "It was not your normal bye game. They are very well coached, are disciplined and play hard. They are very, very good offensively."

The Lumberjacks struggled in the first half from the field, shooting just xx percent and making only one of seven three-point attempts. USC led at the half 31-19.

"We missed some shots early in this game that we usually make and I think that hurt us," said Adras. "We stumbled out of the gates and that hurt us in the first half."

NAU returns back to Flagstaff to take finals this week before playing at Arizona on Thursday in the Fiesta Bowl Basketball Classic at the McKale Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with the game heard on 105.1 FM The Big Talker and available on the internet at www.bigtalkerradio.com. The game will also be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona.

DID YOU KNOW…Based on AHRRC information NAU athletics has a significant impact on the Flagstaff economy. Lumberjack student athletes add $8.7 million to the Northern Arizona economy and visiting teams contributed $650,000 to the hotel and restaurant economy of Flagstaff.