Early game struggles lead to loss on Senior Night for NAU

NAU junior forward Bernie Andre shoots a basket at the game against the University of Montana Feb 29.

The Lumberjacks faced off against Montana State University in their Senior Night game on Saturday and were unable to keep the momentum from their win Thursday against the University of Montana. The Bobcats took advantage of an unorthodox NAU shooting night and were able to walk away with a 63-57 win.

NAU could not find anything to fall through the hoop to start the game as they went 9% from the field within the first nine minutes of the game. Montana State took advantage of this and was able to take a 13-2 lead off their 42% shooting. NAU’s only score was a layup from sophomore guard Cameron Shelton until NAU started to find its points from senior forward Brooks DeBisschop.

The Lumberjacks' biggest struggle for the first 14 minutes was finding success beyond the arc. They started the game 0-11 from 3-point range. Redshirt sophomore guard Luke Avdalovic, known as one of NAU’s best shooters, gave NAU it’s first 3-pointer of the night.

This lit a spark for the Lumberjacks as their energy exploded and the crowd began to cheer. They were able to bring themselves back in the game and were down 26-19 with four minutes left in the first half.

NAU’s first-half shooting struggles were not the only thing they had to worry about. Montana State’s sophomore forward Jubrile Belo nearly had a double-double in the first half. He ended the half with 10 points and 8 rebounds and the Bobcats headed into the locker room with a 30-21 lead over the Lumberjacks.

The Lumberjacks came out in the second half and did not seem to adjust. They started the first four minutes of the game shooting 14% from the field and the ball kept barely rolling off the rim.

Montana State soon caught fire from beyond the arc to take a commanding lead over the Lumberjacks. From the 11:30 mark to 8 minutes left in the game, the Bobcats only attempted 3-pointers and capitalized on 4-of-8. This gave Montana State a 55-39 lead.

The Lumberjacks showed a sign of hope with 1:30 left in the game as they went on a 10-0 run to bring themselves within eight points of the Bobcats, but it wasn’t enough. Montana State was able to walk away from this one with a 63-57 win over NAU. This puts the Lumberjacks at an overall record of 16-12 and 10-9 in Big Sky Conference play.

“We were chasing the whole night,” Interim head coach Shane Burcar said, “we just couldn't get back into it.”

Tonight, NAU celebrated two seniors, DeBisschop and guard Chris Bowling. DeBisschop ended the game with nine points and 10 rebounds while Bowling was able to pull down one rebound and get one assist.

Although this was his senior night, DeBisschop was not happy with the outcome and thought they could have shot better. It wasn’t as simple as just missing shots

“It’s just not acceptable,” DeBisschop said, “We could have made a few plays here and there, it was a six-point game.”

NAU’s leading scorer for the game was Shelton, who ended with a double-double. Shelton walked away from the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lumberjacks take the road in their final game of the season against Portland State University on Thursday. NAU looks to end this season on a high note going into the Big Sky Conference Tournament, which begins Mar. 9 in Boise, Idaho.