LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Northern Arizona men's basketball team will look to win its second consecutive game Friday against Jacksonville State in the Global Sports Classic at Thomas & Mack Arena. The Lumberjacks snapped an 18-game losing streak with an 85-82 win at UC Davis Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Arizona time.
"The guys have had a great week of practice and they are really trying to build off it," said Head Coach Jack Murphy. "We are not going into any game over confident. We are preparing as if we are coming off a loss. We are still hungry and will keep working at getting better to get more victories."
The Lumberjacks face a Jacksonville State squad with a 3-2 record on the season. The Gamecocks opened with three straight wins before dropping their last two games at UNLV and at Oregon. They have four returning starters from a team that posted a 15-18 record last season.
"They are very well coached," said Murphy. "They come from a great league in the Ohio Valley Conference that has a number of high level teams. They are not going to be scared of the moment. They have played the same schedule as we have and will know what to expect from the arena."
Playing the second of four games Friday in the Global Sports Classic, the Lumberjacks will have a different environment than the near sellout crowd against UNLV last week. NAU will be bolstered by friends and family of Murphy, a Las Vegas native, and freshman Jordyn Martin, who played at Las Vegas Palo Verde High School.
"We are hoping that we get a good crowd, a local contingent of Lumberjack fans', said Murphy. "It is definitely not going to be full capacity like it was a couple of weeks ago against UNLV. We are going to have to get ourselves up and mentally prepared even before we step on the court. We can't have a lull just because the crowd is not in the game. We have to be in the game ourselves."
Murphy says the Jacksonville State squad will provide a challenge for the Lumberjacks, who are looking to extend their win streak.
"They are an athletic team that likes to attack," said Murphy. "They are going to be an aggressive team on defense and offense. We are going to have to do a good job guard off the dribble and matching up the shooters and really do a job on the boards. They have a lot of athletes who will attack the glass."
The game can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network on 105.1 FM The Big Talker. Mitch Strohman and Dave Brown will be courtside for both games in Las Vegas this weekend. The Lumberjacks will play the winner/loser of the game between Campbell and North Carolina A&T Saturday.