FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.- The Northern Arizona men's basketball team won its fourth consecutive game with a 70-53 victory over Montana, defeating the first-place team in the league for the second time this week. The Lumberjacks improved to 14-8, 6-4 in Big Sky play. NAU also defeated Northern Colorado and Montana State this week.
Senior Cameron Jones led the Lumberjacks with 17 points, while senior guard Eric Platt contributed 14 points off the bench. Sophomore point guard Stallon Saldivar had 11 assists, tying the fifth-best single-game assist total in school history and notching his fourth game of 10 or more assists on the season. He added eight points and a career-high tying six rebounds.
Senior Shane Johannsen added 12 points and six rebounds in the winning effort in front of a season-high 1,064 fans at the Rolle Activity Center.
NAU shot 50.8 percent for the game and hit 7-of-14 three-pointers, including four by Platt. The Lumberjacks converted 13 Montana turnovers into 22 points and had a 25-4 advantage off the bench and 17-6 differential on fast break points.
NAU took the lead for good just four minutes into the game, building the lead to 10 points at the 8:28 mark and led by seven at halftime. Platt had 11 of his 14 points in the first half to lead the Lumberjacks.
Montana cut the lead to four points on a Derek Selvig three-pointer at 38-34 with 15:25 left in the game before the Lumberjacks went on a 19-2 run. Jones contributed seven points during the run with Gabe Rogers capping it with a three-pointer to extend the lead to 21 points with 10 minutes left.
The Griz responded with a 7-0 run before Rogers his second three-pointer of the half and Montana never got closer in the ball game.
"The best part of the night is when they made their runs we always had an answer," said Head Coach Mike Adras. "We didn't just stop it with a basket. We made multiple buckets. Gabe had a big three-pointer and Cameron and Eric really build that lead back up for us."
Montana played without guard Will Cherry, who entered the game as the team's leading scorer. He suffered an ankle sprain in the loss at Weber State on Thursday night.
Brian Qvale had 17 points for the Grizzlies, who shot just 40 percent in the second half.
NAU heads on the road this week for a matchup with Weber State on Thursday, featuring a Wildcat team that is tied with NAU at 6-4 in the league standings. Both teams started league play 0-2 before rebounding of late.