SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Northern Arizona (9-13, 6-5 Big Sky) got into early foul trouble in the game and it plagued the Lumberjacks from there on out as they fell at Sacramento State (9-11, 5-6 Big Sky) tonight 87-70 at The Nest.
"It's very simple math tonight," said head coach Jack Murphy. "You're not going to win any games with five assists and 20 turnovers. It's very simple. We have to correct it somehow. We've seen it over the last three road games, and we can't continue to play like this."
Northern Arizona trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, but a nice run towards the end allowed the Lumberjacks to close the gap and enter the locker room trailing the Hornets 41-34.
The Hornets outscored NAU 12-3 to start the second half, as it was able to go ahead 53-37. Both teams experienced some more foul trouble and were forced to go to their bench.
The Lumberjacks used a mixture of made free throws and layups to put together a 10-0 run midway through the second half to cut Sacramento State's lead to 64-56.
Aaseem Dixon's fastbreak layup with 7:08 left to play trimmed the Hornets' lead to 69-63, but from there Sacramento State took advantage of missed free throws and Lumberjack turnovers.
NAU struggled from the floor, as it scored seven points in the final seven minutes. The Hornets were able to notch 18 points to grab the victory.
Dixon led NAU in scoring with 14 points. Gaellan Bewernick recorded 13 points, while Quinton Upshur tallied 12 points to round out NAU's top scorers. The Lumberjacks shot 53.5 percent from the field for the game, but it shot 62.9 percent (22-of-35) from the free throw line.
Mikh McKinney scored a game-high 26 points, in addition to pulling down six rebounds. Dreon Bartlett and Zach Mills netted 15 points apiece. The Hornets shot 59.2 percent from the field to win their third straight game.
Both teams combined for 52 personal fouls with eight players recording four or more.
Northern Arizona returns home to the Walkup Skydome on Saturday, Feb. 8 to host Southern Utah at 6:30 p.m.
Notes: Double digit scoring games Quinton Upshur (20), Aaseem Dixon (14), Gaellan Bewernick (6)…Len Springs moves into a three-way tie for sixth all-time on the NAU season blocked shots chart with 42.