PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland State held off Northern Arizona to post a 79-74 victory Saturday in a tight game Saturday night at the Stott Center.
The Lumberjacks trailed for most of the second half before cutting the deficit to one at 63-62 with 4:50 left. Portland State then went on a 9-2 run highlighted by two three-pointers by Gary Winston. NAU made a final push behind back-to-back baskets by Max Jacobsen, who finished with 14 points in the game, to cut back into the lead.
In the final minute, NAU pulled within 77-74 on a three-point play by Gabe Rogers with nine seconds left. But the Vikings hit their free throws in the final seconds to seal the game as the Lumberjacks could not close the gap.
"I thought the guys played tough man-to-man defense and I liked our effort," said Murphy. "There is a lot to build on."
NAU lost for the third consecutive game to drop to 5-11 and 2-4 in league play. PSU improved to 5-8, including a 3-3 mark in Big Sky Conference play.
NAU was hurt by 18 turnovers in the contest, unable to capitalize on a strong night from the field after shooting better than 50 percent from the floor for the fourth time this season. PSU had a big advantage at the line with 19 free throws made to just 15 attempts (five made) for the Lumberjacks and went 8-for-13 beyond the arc on the night.
Senior guard Stallon Saldivar moved into third on the school's all-time assists list with six in the game to go with eight rebounds and six points.
The Vikings had five players in double figures led by 20 points by Renado Parker.
NAU got off to a good start for the second consecutive game, scoring the first seven points of the game. The Vikings fought back to tie the game at 13 and led by as many as five points. The Lumberjacks took a brief lead with 2:09 left before PSU closed the half with a two-point lead.
Rogers led the team with nine points in the first half, shooting 4-of-6 from the field. Bewernick added eight points.
The Lumberjacks shot 66 percent for the half but had 12 turnovers and did not attempt a free throw in the first 20 minutes. PSU had 10 steals and made seven of 10 attempts at the free throw line.
NAU returns to the road again next week with games at Weber State and Idaho State. Both games can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network on 105.1 FM The Big Talker starting with a Thursday night tip at Weber State beginning at 7:05 p.m.