TUCSON, Ariz. - It was the classic case of “David vs. Goliath,” with the 15th-seeded Lumberjacks playing the part of David and the 2nd-seeded St. John’s Red Storm playing the role of Goliath. The Lumberjacks had been written off by most people, marking the Red Storm down as having a date in the Final Four.
Throughout the first 10 minutes of the game NAU hung around, falling no further than six points behind the highly-favored Red Storm. Senior Andrew Wolthers gave the 13,000-plus fans in attendance something to cheer about when he drained a 15-footer to give NAU a two-point lead with just over seven minutes left in the half.
It was a back-and-forth battle for the rest of the half but St. John’s clung to a three-point advantage at the intermission. St. John’s held the lead throughout the second half and with 10:04 left it looked like the Lumberjacks’ opportunity for the upset had passed them by.
The Red Storm were in control of the game leading by nine when NAU mounted one final charge. Senior Ross Land and sophomore Adam Lopez hit consecutive three-pointers, knocking the St. John’s lead down to three. The Lumberjacks pulled even when senior Billy Hix hit a layup with 1:24 left in the game. The Red Storm regained the two-point advantage and with 30 seconds left on the clock, then junior Cory Schwab turned the McKale Center into sheer bedlam when he drained a three-pointer to give NAU a one-point lead. It was the Lumberjacks first lead since the 2:21 mark of the first half.
But something happened on the way to one of the most memorable upsets in NCAA Championship history; Cinderella turned her back on NAU, ending the Lumberjacks’ tournament run. St. John’s survived the scare, 61-56.
Senior Dan McClintock concluded his collegiate career as the CBS/Chevrolet Player of the Game, scoring 18 points with eight rebounds and four assists. Senior Billy Hix recorded his second double-double of the season with his 14 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Ross Land closed out his career with nine points and five assists.