BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Northern Arizona men's basketball team dropped its season finale Monday night 79-60 at Montana State. Despite a positive start to the game, the Lumberjacks fell behind in the first half and were unable to cut the deficit in the second half.
"To Montana State's credit, they just shot the lights out from three," said Interim Head Coach Dave Brown. "They did a good job of shooting the ball. We could just not shut it down."
NAU (5-24) finished the season on a 16-game losing streak, including the final 15 games in conference play. Montana State (12-16) snapped an eight-game losing streak with the win and will play Portland State in the Big Sky Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday at the No. 6 seed.
"Hopefully they can carry some of this effort into next season," said Brown.
Senior Durrell Norman, who is scheduled to graduate in May, led the Lumberjacks with a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds. James Douglas added 11 points, while Gabe Rogers and Gaellan Bewernick each contributed 10 points.
"Durrell went out as our leading scorer tonight," said Brown. "It is what it is all about to see a young man like Durrell be successful and get his degree. All his teammates gave Durrell high fives and that means a lot. He played a hard game and worked hard down the stretch. He is a great example of Lumberjack basketball."
Montana State shot 50 percent for the game and made 12 three-pointers in the contest. Shawn Reid had a game-high 23 points for the Bobcats. Christian Moon added 15 points in the win.
The Lumberjacks started the game hot from the field, hitting eight of their first 12 shots from the field. The game was tied at 19 at the 11:26 mark. Norman led the Lumberjacks in the first half with nine points, while Rogers and Douglas each added seven points.
Montana State turned the ball over just two times in the first half, while the Bobcats scored 11 points off eight Lumberjack turnovers. An 8-0 burst by the Bobcats provided separation and they led by as many as 16 points before taking a 45-31 lead at halftime.