EUGENE, Ore. - Head Coach Jack Murphy makes his head coaching debut Saturday when his Lumberjack basketball program opens the 2012-13 season against Oregon. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. Arizona time at Matthew Knight Arena. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network and can be heard via Stretch Internet.
"We are really excited," said Murphy. "Right now our focus is on Oregon but it also has to be on the big picture in terms of the Big Sky Conference. Each of these games is a step in the right direction in helping us prepare for the Big Sky. It is our overall focus but Oregon is first up."
The game against the Ducks is the first of six straight on the road for the Lumberjacks and one of three Pac-12 opponents on the schedule in the first two months of the season. NAU also travels to Arizona and Colorado during the non-conference slate.
"They are very talented," said Murphy, who is the 25th head coach in school history and one of three new head coaches in the Big Sky Conference this season. "They have great size and athleticism in the front court. They have two guys are close to seven feet tall. That poses numerous problems both offensively and defensively."
The game is the first of the Global Sports Challenge, including a game Monday at UNLV and two contests in Las Vegas later this month.
Oregon was 24-10 last season and returns five letter winners and two starters from a team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
"Overall they are going to be much improved over last year and they were very good last year," said Murphy. "It will be a tough test."
The game will be a homecoming for Max Jacobsen (Lake Oswego) to his home state.
"I have been excited ever since I found out Oregon was on the schedule," said Jacobsen. "My family and friends from high school are going to be there. It will be good to get us some fans there."
Oregon and NAU will be meeting for the seventh time in school history with the Ducks owning a 5-1 advantage in the series. Oregon won a 72-70 overtime game in 2000-01 in their last visit to Flagstaff. NAU is 0-3 all-time in Eugene, including an 86-51 loss in 2001-02 in the last meeting between the schools. The two schools first met in the 1978-79 season, played two games in the mid 1980's and played three games from 1999-02 over consecutive years.
The Lumberjacks went 2-0 in their exhibition game, posting victories over Haskell and Adams State. Senior guard Gabe Rogers finished the two exhibition games with a 27.5 points per game average while shooting 56 percent on threes and 51 percent overall.