Photo by www.raphotos.com
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior Cameron Jones hit a three-pointer with one second left to give Northern Arizona a 59-56 victory over Cal Poly in the ESPN Sears BracketBuster event Saturday night at Mott Gym.
"We played hard and deserved to win the ball game," said Head Coach Mike Adras. "It was a great environment and it was very loud in here. Our guys feel very good about this one."
NAU snapped Cal Poly's six-game winning streak to improve to 16-10 on the season. Cal Poly dropped to 14-12 on the season.
Jones, who was 0-for-8 on the night beyond the three-point arc, finally connected on his final three-point shot of the night. He finished with a team-high 19 points, going 9-for-22 from the field with five assists.
"I was getting good looks all game so when it came my way I was ready to put it up," said Jones of the game winner.
It was a big milestone game for Jones. He surpassed the 1,500-point mark and 500-point total for the season in the game. He is the fifth player in school history to score 500 or more points in a season and the first to reach the mark twice, while also becoming the fourth player to eclipse the 1,500 point mark in school history. He now has 1,516 points, 34 points shy of the school record held by Kelly Golob, trailing only Andy Hurd (1,522) and Ross Land (1,525) on the scoring list.
Senior Eric Platt had 12 points off the bench, hitting four three-pointers for the sixth time this season. Shane Johannsen had six points, 10 rebounds and four blocks despite playing with a thumb injury suffered Wednesday against Eastern Washington.
Jones hit a jumper with 2:30 left in the game to break a tie at 50. After a turnover, Rogers hit two free throws after being fouled to extend the lead to four. Cal Poly then took three-pointers on three successive possessions, finally getting a triple by Shawn Lewis, who finished with a game-high 25 points, off an offensive rebound on a miss by Lewis.
Rogers was at the line again, hitting two to give NAU a 56-53 lead. Lewis then hit another three-pointer with 8.6 seconds left to the tie the game at 56. After a timeout, NAU got the ball into Stallon Saldivar who drove and passed to Platt, who found Jones for the game-winning shot from the right side.
The game was close throughout the second half with both teams having early runs in the half.
Cal Poly scored the first seven points of the second half, going on a 14-4 run to erase the Lumberjacks lead and take a 37-31 advantage and forcing a NAU timeout. After a layup by the Mustangs' Will Donahue, NAU went on an 8-0 run started by Jones and extended by back-to-back three-pointers by Platt to tie the game at 39.
NAU led at the half 27-23 behind 54 percent shooting. Smith led the Lumberjacks with seven points, while Johannsen had four points, five rebounds and three blocks. Jones added six points.
The Lumberjacks, the top three-point shooting team in the country, missed their first six three-point attempts before setting to hit two of three down the stretch.
NAU finished shooting 47 percent for the game from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc.
NAU travels back to California on Thursday to start its final Big Sky Conference road trip starting at Sacramento State. The game can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network on 105.1 FM The Big Talker and www.bigtalkerradio.com. The game can also be seen on Big Sky Television at www.bigskytv.org. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:05 p.m.