GREELEY, Colo. – The Northern Arizona men's basketball team could not overcome 23 turnovers as Northern Colorado posted a 76-68 victory at the Butler-Hancock Pavilion Thursday night.
"(The turnovers) were more on us," said Head Coach Jack Murphy. "Northern Colorado is a good team and they are well coached. They do not put a lot of pressure on you. A lot of the turnovers were unforced and uncharacteristic of how we have been playing lately. It is not indicative of the team that we have."
UNC improved to 6-9 in Big Sky play, while the Lumberjacks dropped to 6-9 and 9-16 overall.
The Bears got the bulk of their scoring from their top three players with a combined 62 points by Derrick Bardin, Tevin Svihovec and Tate Unruh. Svihovec had a game-high 24 points, going 9-for-13 from the field with three triples in the contest. Barden had 21 points and Unruh added 17 points.
The Lumberjacks closed to within four points with six minutes left in the game but Svihovec scored seven straight points including two three-pointers to push the lead back to nine points. The Lumberjacks never got any closer.
Gabe Rogers led the Lumberjacks with 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field.
"Gabe is an outstanding player and it is well-documented how much we rely on Gabe and what a great roll he has been on lately," said Murphy. "He has been playing at an all-conference level and I think he is one of the best scorers in the league."
NAU shot 56 percent for the game but UNC recorded the 23 turnovers with the help of 14 steals.
The Bears led by nine at the half 35-26 with the help of 14 NAU turnovers in the first half. The Lumberjacks came out of the locker room with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 35. The Bears then responded with an 8-0 run to go back up 43-35.
"What we did to get back in the game is we executed," said Murphy. "We executed offensively and defensively and were able to turn them over and go get scores. When they went on their run, unfortunately, we reverted back to a couple of turnovers and poor execution. In a game like this on the road with high stakes involved, you have to have your focus and execution for 40 minutes to come out with a victory. We just did not have that tonight."
The Lumberjacks travel to Grand Forks, N.D., for a Saturday afternoon game against North Dakota.
"We have to be mentally ready to play, individually and as a group, doing your job and understanding your roles," said Murphy. "I think we will have a much better showing on Saturday."
Tipoff is at 1:05 p.m. against North Dakota and the game can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network on 105.1 The Big Talker, online or via the Big Talker mobile app. Fans can also catch the game on Big Sky TV.