Photo by Sarah Hamilton, The Lumberjack
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Montana shot 58 percent in posting a 78-53 victory over Northern Arizona Thursday night at the Rolle Activity Center. The Griz won their sixth consecutive game led by Kareem Jamar's 15 points and seven rebounds.
"They bumped us around and are a good team," said Interim Head Coach Dave Brown. "They didn't do anything we were not expecting but they did with a physical strength and maturity."
The Lumberjacks shot just 30 percent while committing 17 turnovers. Junior Gabe Rogers struggled from the field, going 4-for-16 from the field for a team-best 13 points. Freshman James Douglas added 12 points. Junior Ephraim Ekanem had eight points in the first half. Senior Durrell Norman had seven points and seven rebounds.
"Defensively Montana did a good job of taking JD (James Douglas) out of the game early," said Brown. "They have lots of guys that have played games for Montana and you can see why they are among the top two teams with Weber State in the Big Sky"
Montana jumped out on the Lumberjacks early with a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 12 points 18-6 just seven minutes into the game. The Griz led by as many as 18 points in the first half, shooting 60 percent. The Lumberjacks were just 9-for-24 in the first half and missed all five of their three-point attempts.
"They just jumped out on us and played with a lot of intensity and we were not able to combat that," said Norman. "It is something we have been doing lately and it is not something that can continue as a trend. There is a lot of frustration in the locker room and we have to find a way to turn it around."
NAU opened the second half with back-to-back three-pointers by Rogers and Douglas to cut the lead to 12 points. Montana then went on a 7-0 run to stop the NAU momentum, extending the lead past 20 points at the 14:30 mark. NAU never got any closer in the game.
The 25-point advantage was the largest home loss to Montana since the 1995-96 season.
The Lumberjacks return to action Saturday, hosting Montana State at 6:35 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center. The game can be heard on 105.1 The Big Talker and seen live on Fox College Sports, Big Sky TV and NAU TV (online and Flagstaff cable).