FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Senior guard Michael Dunn hit the game winner as time expired to give Northern Arizona a 67-65 victory over Northern Colorado Thursday night at the Walkup Skydome.
"Stallon got Mike the ball in the perfect spot and Mike hit the shot," said Head Coach Jack Murphy. "I am sure I am going to be on the other end of those. It is not a good feeling because Northern Colorado played a great game. But we are excited tonight."
With 4.8 seconds on the clock, senior Stallon Saldivar dribbled the length of the court and hit Dunn on the left baseline. The Chandler, Ariz., native took two steps and hit a 6-foot floater to help the Lumberjacks improve to 7-12 and 4-5 in the Big Sky Conference.
"It was an audible if you will," said Dunn following the game. "We tried to get it to DeWayne initially coming across. Stallon, being the heady point guard that he is, made an audible and pushed it. He forced my guy to make a decision and he made the right pass like he has been doing the last four years."
Northern Colorado's Tevin Svihovec had hit a fall away three-pointer that banked off the backboard to tie the game at 65 for the Bears with 4.8 left after Gabe Rogers, who finished with a season-high 28 points, extended the NAU lead to 65-62 with a pair of free throws just seconds earlier.
Northern Colorado dropped to 5-12 overall and 3-6 in Big Sky play.
NAU won back-to-back games for the first time all season, winning their fourth league game after going just 1-15 last season.
"To get on a winning streak finally feels good," said Dunn. "We are not done. We have North Dakota (on Saturday), who is a good team and in third place right now. Beating them would be key. We want to get on a roll and get back to .500 in conference."
Rogers went 11-for-19 from the field, scoring 13 of his 28 points in the second half. He hit four three-pointers in the contest in 37 minutes. Freshman guard DeWayne Russell added 13 points.
The Bears had three players in double figures led by the 16 points by Svihovec.
Northern Colorado led by as many as 10 points in the first half before the Lumberjacks responded with a 14-4 run to tie the game at 20 at the 7:15 mark. The Bears went into the locker room with a two-point advantage after shooting 54 percent from the floor in the first half.
In a game that featured six lead changes and five ties, both teams shared the lead in the second half. Rogers put the Lumberjacks up with deep three with 1:29 left at 63-62. The teams exchanged turnovers and missed shots before Rogers hit two free throws with 14 seconds left to setup the exciting final two possessions.
"Gabe made a huge three at the end of the shot clock right in front of the bench," said Murphy. "It was one of those shots you go, 'What are you doing and then say Yes'. He also made two huge free throws at the end."
The Lumberjacks shot 51.9 percent for the game, including a 57 percent clip in the second half but managed just a 4-for-10 night from the line.
NAU hosts North Dakota on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. looking to extend the current two-game win streak.
All boy scouts in uniform and their guests receive $5 admission as well as a free NAU Basketball Scout Badge and NAU Alumni may order discounted reserved tickets online by using the code JACKALUM or by calling 928-523-5661.
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