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NAU Battles Hard in Season Opener, Falls to Santa Clara 67-64 in Cable Car Classic

Guard Jaleni Neely
Guard Jaleni Neely

SANTA CLARA, Calif.Jordyn Martin registered a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds in his first game back from injury, as Northern Arizona fell 67-64 to Santa Clara in its season opener and first game of the Cable Car Classic this weekend.

"I thought the guys played hard and well," said head coach Jack Murphy. "We left some points out there, especially near the end. We have to make those corrections by tomorrow, as we have another game. Overall, I liked what I saw today, especially from Jordyn and Jaleni (Neely). For it to be their first game back, they led us out there on the court tonight."

Neely recorded a team-high 18 points and Mike Green added 14 points.

After jumping out to a 7-0 lead to start the game, NAU (0-1) led by as many as 12 points with 8:55 remaining in the first half to go up 19-7 after Martin hit a pair of free throws. The Lumberjacks struggled towards the end of the period with Neely on the bench in foul trouble. It allowed for the Broncos to go on a run and the home team took a 28-26 advantage into halftime.

Coming out of halftime, NAU rattled off nine straight points to start the second half. The Broncos slowly chipped away at the NAU lead and their 48.1 field goal percentage in the second half boosted their offense.

The advantage moved in favor of Santa Clara with 5:05 remaining in the game with the Broncos maintaining control throughout that time period and going up by six points as late as five seconds to go. NAU's Marcus DeBerry hit a 3-pointer with one second left on the clock to trim Santa Clara's lead.

Santa Clara hung on for the three-point win at the Leavey Center. Jarvis Pugh tallied 20 points and nine rebounds and Jared Brownridge recorded 14 points and six rebounds for Santa Clara (1-0).

NAU continues play in the Cable Car Classic on Saturday with a 9:30 p.m. MST tip-off versus Tennessee State. The Lumberjacks will face UC Davis on Sunday in the tournament finale at 1 p.m. MST.

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