Men’s Basketball Loses Halftime Lead, Drops Third Straight at Eastern Washington
CHENEY, Wash. – The Northern Arizona men's basketball team lost its third consecutive Big Sky Conference road game at Eastern Washington Saturday night 76-59.
The Lumberjacks (5-11, 1-3 Big Sky) led 31-27 at the half but were out-scored 49-28 in the second half as the Eagles posted the comeback win.
"We emphasized that these guys were not going to lie down," said Interim Head Coach Brown. "We just have to learn to play 40 minutes. It is a habit. We have to keep in mind we have very young players that are struggling on the road. It is a learning experience. I was pleased with the effort. But we just don't understand what it takes to get over the hump and that is our job as coaches to get that done."
Freshman James Douglas, who did not score in the loss at Portland State, led the Lumberjacks with 17 points among three players in double figures. Senior Durrell Norman had 12 points and seven rebounds, while junior guard Gabe Rogers added 11 points. Mike Dunn added eight points off the bench.
NAU had a big advantage at the free throw line, attempting 21 shots from the charity stripe but managed just 61 percent on the night (13 free throws made). Eastern had just four attempts until the final minutes of the game, finishing 7-for-8.
The Eagles (8-8, 2-2 BSC) made 11 of 30 three-point attempts in the contest, getting four triples from Cliff Colliman and three from Jeffrey Forbes. Colliman finished with a game-high 22 points, while Forbes had 15 points. Colin Chiverton, who did not play in the first half, added 12 points off the bench in the second half.
"We had a lead at the half and we did play hard and played smart," said Brown. "For whatever reason Chiverton was not in the game and he is a game breaker. He really hurt us in the second half and got his team energized."
Chiverton went 5-for-9 from the field with two three-pointers in the second half.
"We kind of responded but did not have enough gas in the tank," said Brown. "They really took it to us in the second half."
The Lumberjacks led by as many as six points in the first half at the 6:23 mark, while shooting 56 percent in the opening 20 minutes. But NAU struggled from the field in the second half, shooting just 36 percent while Eastern Washington shot 58 percent (18-of-31).
The Lumberjacks return home next week for a two-game home stand against Montana and Montana State. Tipoff Thursday against the Montana is at 6:35 p.m. at the Rolle Activity Center. The game can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network and will be televised by NAU TV. The can be seen on Fox College Sports and on local cable in Flagstaff on Channel 4, as well as online on NAU TV and Big Sky TV.
The game is men's basketball camper reunion night with each camper getting in free with a paying adult. There will also be special ticket rate for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Flagstaff.