February 7, 2013

Men’s Basketball Drops Vikings for Second Straight Win

NAU-PSU BOX SCORE (PDF)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Senior Gabe Rogers scored 25 points and Stallon Saldivar recorded his first career double-double as Northern Arizona defeated Portland State 79-72 at the Walkup Skydome.

"Gabe is one of our leaders and he has been stroking it really well," said Saldivar. "It has been fun to see. He probably had seven of my assists. He has been shooting really well."

The Lumberjacks jumped out on the Vikings in the first half, making nine of their first 10 shots from the field to take a 10-point lead just over six minutes into the contest. NAU was aided by the three-point shot, making eight from the field over the first 20 minutes.

NAU led by as many as 21 points in the first half and tied season-highs for points scored in a half (51) and field-goal percentage for a half (63). Rogers, who was playing in his 100th career game, spurred the strong half with 15 points on five three-pointers.

The Lumberjacks opened the second half missing eight straight from the field and managed just 33 percent in the second half. The Vikings cut into the Lumberjack lead, trailing by just four points at the 10:49 mark after a 17-5 run to start the second half.

"Once we got it back under control, got the ball inside-out and got our defense aligned, we were able to get some scores in transition to get back going," said Head Coach Jack Murphy.

Rogers, who had a career-high tying seven triples in the contest, ended the run with a three-pointer to push the lead back to seven. The Vikings cut the lead to four again with 5:29 left but NAU squashed the run with a 6-0 run to push the lead back to 10.

"This game is a game of runs," said Rogers. "Their back was against the wall and they came out firing in the second half. It was good for us that we buckled down when they made their run."

NAU improved to 9-14 on the season and 6-7 in Big Sky play, while PSU dropped their 13th consecutive road game and seventh straight overall to drop to 5-15 and 3-10 in Big Sky play.

Saldivar recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 assists, the fourth game of 10 or more assists in his career. Freshman guard DeWayne Russell added 15 points.

Rogers scored 25 points, eclipsing the 20-point mark for the ninth time this season.

The Lumberjacks finished shooting 49 percent for the game with 10 three-pointers and just nine turnovers.

The Vikings had four players in double figures led by the 19 points of Aaron Moore.

NAU returns to the court Saturday for a 1:05 p.m. tip against Eastern Washington at the Walkup Skydome. The first 1,000 fans will receive Neon Blue #NAUTakeOver glasses for "I Love the 80's Day". There will be discounted food items and contests throughout the game for best 80's outfits.