No. 5 NAU faced off against Eastern Washington, who came into this game as the No. 1 seed in the Big Sky Conference. The Eagles were able to break the Lumberjacks five-game winning streak with a 75-66 win in the Walkup Skydome Feb. 3. This makes NAU fall to a 12-8 overall record and a 6-5 conference record, the fifth best in the Big Sky Conference.
NAU was able to jump to an early 14-10 lead over Eastern Washington within the first five minutes of the game, going a perfect 6-6 from the field with four different starters scoring. NAU’s offense started to dip, as they only made one of their next six shots.
A spark lit up the Eagles offense with 8 minutes left in the first half as they went on a 12-1 run which gave them a 27-21 lead.
The fight was not over for the Lumberjacks though, as they were able to bring themselves back into the game with an important 3-pointer from senior forward Brooks DeBisschop and a layup from sophomore guard Cameron Shelton. NAU was able to go into the locker room down four to Eastern Washington, 34-30.
Eastern Washington came out in the second half hot. They jumped to an early 15-point lead from a 14-5 run over the Lumberjacks. This was led by Eagles junior guard Jack Perry who scored nine of their points and went a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc.
The Eagles continued to find open shots from behind the arc throughout the rest of the game. They scored 24 of 41 points from behind the 3-point line in the second half.
Eastern Washington has a different type of style offense than any NAU has faced all year but this was no different in the way they wanted to approach the game.
“We don't get caught up because this year we have played a lot of different styles of teams,” Interim head coach Shane Burcar said. “Our non-conference for that reason, because we don’t care if the game gets up into the 70s because we have won both those types of games, one of them being Portland State.”
This was too much for the Lumberjacks to come back from as Eastern Washington was able to walk away with the win.
NAU’s top performers were leading scorer DeBisschop, who ended the game with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. He came into this game with a 25% 3-point percentage but went 3-4 from behind the arc. Shelton ended the game scoring a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
This game capped NAU’s four-game home stretch as they will be back on the road Thursday against Idaho State University, which is ranked tenth in the Big Sky Conference. This will be the first of the next two games that NAU will be on the road. The Lumberjacks return to Flagstaff Feb. 13 against Weber State.