CHENEY, Wash. – Northern Arizona jumped out to a seven-point lead on the road at Eastern Washington, but the Eagles rarely missed in the second half as it notched a 84-62 win tonight over the Lumberjacks at Reese Court.
"Eastern Washington made a good adjustment at halftime," said head coach Jack Murphy. "They stopped shooting three's and took the ball inside. We have to do a better job of finishing around the rim and in the paint. Our 3-point percentage was fine and so was our 3-point percentage defense. It came down to points in the paint and that's what hurt us."
The Eagles shot 62.5 percent in the second half, including hitting three of their first-five shots, and at one point in time were 14 of 17 from the field. Eastern Washington's sharp shooting gave the home team 20 made field goals in the second half, while NAU had 10 made field goals.
Stepping up for the Lumberjacks in the second half were sophomore guards Marcus DeBerry and Mike Green. Both shooters had eight points in the period to lead NAU's 41.7 percent performance from the floor.
NAU shot below its season average of 70.1 percent from the free throw line finishing 57.9 from the charity stripe.
The Eagles led by as many as 25 points with 1:37 left in the game. Eastern Washington powered the inside to net 58 points in the paint and 25 points off turnovers.
The Lumberjacks led to start the game after connecting on three of their first four 3-point attempts. NAU was up by seven points with 11:59 to go after a 3-pointer by Green, but the Eagles made their way back with small ball to take a 37-31 advantage into halftime.
NAU made six treys in the first half leading to a 37.9 field goal percentage overall. After a shakey start, the Eagles finished the first half 45.5 percent from the floor with 24 points coming in the paint.
Senior forward Ako Kaluna had seven points at the half and finished just shy of the 15 points needed tonight to enter NAU's 1,000 Point Club. Kaluna scored 12 points and needs just three more to achieve the honor. Green netted 15 points on the night to lead NAU, while DeBerry tallied 11 points.
Jacob Wiley, the reigning Big Sky Player of the Week, scored 30 points on 14 of 16 shooting, plus he added eight rebounds to round out the night.
NAU plays at Idaho on Saturday night. The Lumberjacks and Vandals will tip off at 8 p.m. MST at the Cowan Spectrum. NAU won the last meeting against Idaho, 72-70, in Flagstaff.