Photo by Rick Johnson
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Senior Cameron Jones scored six points in overtime and 31 overall after halftime to propel Northern Arizona to a 82-80 victory over Idaho State at the Rolle Activity Center Thursday night. NAU won its first conference game of the season, improving to 1-2 in Big Sky play and 9-6 overall.
Jones finished with a career-high 37 points on a 12-of-23 performance from the field, including three three-pointers, eight rebounds and a 10-for-14 night at the charity stripe. Jones' biggest bucket came at the end of regulation, nailing a three-pointer to send the game to overtime.
The teams combined for 28 points, three ties and three lead changes in an exciting extra period. Gabe Rogers hit consecutive three-pointers and Austin Smith added back-to-back baskets to help the Lumberjacks but NAU still trailed by two with 46 seconds left. Jones then hit a layup and was fouled, converting the free throw for an 81-80 lead. The Lumberjacks then forced missed jumper by Broderick Gilchrest and Jones was fouled bringing the ball up the court.
He hit the first to extend the lead to two points but missed the second, leaving a final opportunity for the Bengals. Gilchrest got two attempts to win the game, getting the offensive rebound for a final chance with one second left that was off the mark.
Shane Johannsen fouled out in regulation after posting his third double-double of the season, scoring 11 points with a game-high 16 rebounds. Stallon Saldivar had a career-high 13 assists in the game. Rogers finished with 20 points with the help of five three-pointers.
NAU shot just 43.5 percent for the game after struggling through a 7-for-22 (31 percent) first half. The Bengals shot 52 percent for the game.
Four Bengals scored in double figures led by 22 points by Gilchrest.
Idaho State led by as many as seven points in the first half, leading 22-15 with 6:04 left. But NAU went on an 8-0 run to take the lead briefly before the Bengals finished the half with a 26-25 lead at the break. NAU stayed in the game with 10 points at the charity stripe in the half.
Both teams picked up the offensive intensity in the second half, scoring a combined 83 points. After scoring just six points in the first half, Jones went 10-for-15 from the field, including 3-for-3 beyond the arc in the second half for 25 points in the period.
Rogers and Jones led the comeback with Rogers scoring 10 points and Jones hitting a pair of baskets in the first four minutes of the second half. But the Bengals would not go away, tying the game at 49 with 9:02 left. Neither team led by more than four the rest of the way.
NAU plays host to Weber State on Saturday in an important game against the preseason Big Sky favorites. The Wildcats lost their first two conference games last week against the Montana schools, entering with a 6-7 overall record and 0-2 Big Sky mark.
The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona, Fox College Sports and Universityhouse with tipoff scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at the Rolle Activity Center. Fans can also listen to the game on 105.1 FM The Big Talker and www.bigtalkerradio.com and watch the television broadcast on the internet at www.bigskytv.org.