FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The University of Hawai'i (6-2) was able to come away with the 76-66 victory over Northern Arizona (2-7) tonight at the Walkup Skydome. The Lumberjacks and Rainbow Warriors were tied 25-All at halftime, but Hawai'i was able to steal the game in the second half for its fourth straight win.
"Even though we were down we fought back. I'm really proud of the team for that," said head coach Jack Murphy. "We need to work on our press break and transition defense. We're scoring baskets, but we're also giving them up on the other end which hurts us."
Junior Gaellan Bewernick led NAU with a career-high 20 points, six rebounds and three assists. Quinton Upshur (15), Aaseem Dixon (11) and Christopher Miller (10) gave NAU its third straight game with three or more players scoring in double figures.
"Tonight I happened to be open at the right time," said Bewernick. "I have to give all the credit to my teammates for finding me. Thankfully I was able to knock down my shots."
Despite a hefty amount of turnovers by both teams in the first half, NAU and Hawai'i entered the locker room at halftime tied 25-25.
The second half of the game was a different story as NAU and Hawai'i upped the tempo as they ran the floor to get some quick points on the scoreboard. Both teams managed to score a combined 19 points in the first three minutes and 14 seconds, as Hawai'i took a 36-35 edge.
The Rainbow Warriors then went on a 14-2 run sparked by back-to-back baskets by Garret Nevels.
NAU cut the Rainbow Warriors' lead to four thanks to a pair of free throws by Upshur with 8:15 remaining. Unfortunately, a combination of missed shots and turnovers hurt the Lumberjacks down the stretch. NAU out-rebounded Hawai'i 32-27, but turnovers and a lack of presence at the free throw line ultimately cost the Lumberjacks the game.
Nevels was the leader on offense for the Rainbow Warriors as he tallied a game-high 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Keith Shamburger and Brandon Spearman added 15 and 13 points, respectively.
NAU will continue home play next weekend when it hosts Grand Canyon on Saturday, Dec. 14 in game two of the doubleheader at 3 p.m.
Notes: NAU is 1-1 at home this season…Gaellan Bewernick is the fourth NAU player this season to score 20 or more points…NAU has had four players score in double figures in two straight games…Hawai'i leads the all-time series 2-0.