Photo by Jaren Wilky, BYU Photo
PROVO, Utah – Brandon Davies scored a game-high 27 points to lead BYU to a 84-54 victory over Northern Arizona Thursday night at the Marriott Center. BYU (9-4) improved to 7-0 at home this season, while NAU dropped its third consecutive game on the season to fall to 4-8 overall.
NAU had no answer for All-America candidate Davis, who went 13-for-16 from the floor and had 10 rebounds. Tyler Haws finished with 15 points.
BYU forced 24 Lumberjack turnovers, converting the added possessions into 18 points.
"I thought the second half was one of our best halves of basketball since that first half against Montana State," said Head Coach Jack Murphy. "As a team we talked at halftime how we have to get better. A week from tonight we get back into conference play. We wanted to go into conference play with some positive momentum."
Senior guard Michael Dunn had a big game in the second half and played solid defensively. He scored a career-high 17 points in the game, shooting 7-for-9 from the field. He scored 14 of NAU's 16 points over one stretch in the second half and hit four straight baskets, including a rare four-point play, as NAU went on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 28 points.
"Mike came off the bench and played really outstanding for us," said Murphy.
NAU shot better in the second half behind Dunn's performance, hitting 43 percent from the floor. The Lumberjacks were only out-scored by five points in the second half 36-31.
"We played in a difficult and tough environment," said Murphy. "We look at the game in four-minute segments. Over 12 minutes in the first half, we lost 21-19 but over the other eight minutes we lost 27-4. We talked about competing and winning all four minute segments in the second half and we did that pretty well."
But the Lumberjacks were unable to overcome a tough first half when the Cougars took control of the game. BYU finished with a 40-18 advantage on points in the paint and 15 steals.
Stallon Saldivar, who is from Salt Lake City, Utah, finished with eight points, a career-high nine rebounds and four assists playing in 100th career game. He moved into fourth place on the all-time assist list, passing former Lumberjack Kyle Feuerbach.
"I was really proud of the way Stallon played in his Homecoming," said Murphy. "He had an outstanding game."
Freshman DeWayne Russell was held under double digits for the first time with just nine points in the contest. Gabe Rogers had eight points, shooting just 2-of-13 from the field and 0-for-6 from beyond the arc.
The Lumberjacks kept it close early trailing 14-13 before the Cougars went on an 18-0 run aided by eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes. NAU went scoreless for nearly seven minutes during the run.
Russell led a 6-0 run with back-to-back baskets to cut into the lead. But BYU finished the half on a 13-4 run to lead 48-23 at the half. BYU forced 14 first half turnovers and held NAU to 30 percent from the floor.
Davies had 18 points in the first half and Haws added 12.
NAU returns home to host a pair of Big Sky Conference games next week starting with Sacramento State on Jan. 3 for "Back to School Night". Tipoff is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at the Walkup Skydome. The first 500 youth 12 and under will get a 2012-13 Lumberjack Academic Planner and a NAU Insulated Lunch Bag. To purchase single game tickets for this game, click here or call 928-523-5661.