FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Junior guard Gabe Rogers had a season-high 25 points but the Northern Arizona men's basketball team dropped a tight contest to Idaho State Saturday night 79-73 in the final home conference game of the season.
Rogers, who started 1-for-6 from the field in the first half, went 9-for-18 in the final 20 minutes to almost help the Lumberjacks snap their current losing streak and overcome the career-high 37-point effort by Idaho State Kenny McGowen.
"To his credit he had a career night," said Interim Head Coach Dave Brown. "We tried some different things. Some were effective and others were not. I felt early in the game we could zone them and it was effective early in the game. We could just not find McGowen at the right time."
After trailing at the half by two, the Lumberjacks took the lead twice in early minutes of the second half on baskets by Rogers. The game remained close over the first minutes of the half before the Bengals went on a 12-2 run to take a 58-48 lead. Rogers fired back with back-to-back baskets before McGowen hit three consecutive three-pointers to extend the lead back to 15.
The Lumberjacks held Idaho State without a basket over a 4 minute, 15 second stretch to cut the lead to six with 4:33 left. NAU got within six twice more in the final two minutes but McGowen answered with baskets each time, finishing with 25 points in the second half.
Melvin Morgan sealed the game with two free throws in the final seconds after NAU had cut the deficit to four with 17 seconds left.
Idaho State shot 53 percent in the second half, recording four players in double figures. Sherrod Baldwin had 13, while Morgan finished with 11 and Andre Hatchett had 10.
Rogers had a season-high 25 points in the contest, making 10-for-24 shots from the field.
"It was so good to see Gabe," said Brown. "He has battled hard and everybody saw what Gabe Rogers was made of No. 1 and the talent offensively that he has."
The Bengals opened the game on a 9-0 run. Senior Durrell Norman, who was born in 1988, shined on "I Love the 1980's Night". After entering the game, he helped the Lumberjack run off 10 straight points to erase the deficit while hitting his first seven shots from the field, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the field in the first half. He finished with 15 points and six rebounds.
NAU stays at home this week to play UC Davis on Saturday in the Sears BracketsBusters game Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at the Rolle Activity Center. It will be the final home game for Norman. NAU completes conference play with two road games at Montana State and Montana the following week to close out the regular season.