BOZEMAN, Mont. – With the final berths in the 2013 Big Sky Conference Tournament at stake this week, the Northern Arizona men's basketball team starts its final regular season road trip at Montana State Thursday night. The Lumberjacks and Bobcats will tipoff at 8:05 p.m.
"We obviously need to get a win on the road and we have two very good opponents in Montana State and Montana," said Head Coach Jack Murphy. "We get our first crack at it Thursday against the Bobcats."
NAU is tied for fifth overall at 8-10 with Montana State, Sacramento State and Southern Utah. With eight games remaining on the conference slate this week, there are numerous scenarios for each team. With Northern Colorado at 9-10, five teams are battling for the final four spots in the conference tournament. The Lumberjacks hope to take care of their own fate by posting a win.
"I really feel like we have been playing good basketball," said Murphy. "Take out the Hawaii trip, we have been very competitive in our last few conference games."
The Lumberjacks are coming off an 80-78 overtime loss to Weber State after defeating Idaho State 67-58 on Feb. 28.
NAU leads the all-time series 47-43 after defeating the Bobcats 87-80 on Dec. 17. NAU is just 11-30 all-time in Bozeman. The Bobcats swept both games against the Lumberjacks in 2011-12, including the season finale last season.
"I don't remember Montana State because it seems so long ago," said Murphy. "It seems like a different season. It is like we are playing a new opponent. We have to worry about ourselves and get prepared like we have the last few weeks."
Senior guard Gabe Rogers continues to lead the Lumberjacks. He has averaged 21.8 points per game over the last 14 contests while scoring in double figures in each game. He has scored 20 or more points in 10 of the last 12 overall.
"The guys know the importance of the games," said Murphy. "We know our backs are up against a wall and we can help ourselves by getting a win."
Mitch Strohman and Dave Brown will call the action from Worthington Arena on the Lumberjack Radio Network. The game can be heard on 105.1 FM The Big Talker and online on the Big Talker website and The Big Talker mobile app. The game can be seen online on Big Sky TV.