CHENEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona men's basketball team was defeated by Eastern Washington 82-59 Thursday night at Reese Court. It was the first conference road game for the Lumberjacks.
"This night is obviously a loss and it was not what we wanted," said Head Coach Jack Murphy. "But you can learn valuable lessons in a loss."
Eastern Washington improved to 4-11 overall, including a 2-3 mark in Big Sky play, while NAU dropped to 2-3 in conference play and 5-10 on the season.
Eastern Washington took control of the game midway into the first half and cruised to the 23-point victory. The Eagles had four players in double figures led by Collin Chiverton, who had a game-high 22 points.
"He is one of the better players in the conference and he was Newcomer of the Year last year," said Murphy. "He stepped up to the plate and had an all-league type night."
Venky Jois scored 14 points and Martin Seiferth contributed 13 in the game for the Eagles.
The Lumberjacks shot just 34.9 percent for the game and were out-rebounded by 12 (49-37).
Freshman guard DeWayne Russell led the Lumberjacks with 17 points and seven steals, tying the fourth-best single game steal total in school history. It was the most steals for a Lumberjack since Ryan McDade recorded seven against Sacramento State in the 2002-03 season.
The Lumberjacks opened up the game with a 7-0 run and led by eight points before the Eagles got settled into the game. Leading 17-16, Eastern Washington went on a 12-0 run behind two three-pointers by Chiverton and out-scored NAU 24-5 to close the half. The Lumberjacks scored just five points over the final 11:26 to trail 40-22 at the half.
"We stopped doing what had got us the lead and what we were doing so well," said Murphy. "We had some untimely turnovers when they made their run and when we forced them to turn the ball over we gave it right back to them."
NAU shot 32 percent in the opening 20 minutes while the Eagles were 15-of-30 from the field and had a 25-17 advantage on the boards. Eastern's lead could have been bigger but they managed to make just 5-fo-14 free throw attempts.
Russell led the Lumberjacks with eight points in the first half.
NAU travels to Portland State for a Saturday night contest starting at 8:35 p.m. Arizona time. The game can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network on 105.1 The Big Talker, online on the Big Talker website and via the Big Talker mobile app.