If it’s any indication how bad the NAU men’s basketball team’s start to the season was, the Lumberjacks were a 15.5-point underdog coming into their Monday night matchup with Colorado State University. In Colorado State’s season-opener, they trailed at halftime against a Division II school.
NAU looked for their first win of the year against the Rams and adjustments were apparent early on as redshirt freshman forward Carson Towt started his first career game and replaced sophomore guard Isaiah Lewis. Coach Shane Burcar designed a script of plays for the offense after being unimpressed following two losses.
However, these adjustments didn’t work in the early portion of the game as NAU trailed 21-7.
Once again, the offense was stagnant and drove the shot clock all the way down to where the team had to fire prayers to avoid shot clock violations.
It took the Lumberjacks around six minutes and 30 seconds before scoring their ninth point of the game. From there, NAU’s offense looked their best of the season so far as they went on a 12-0 run to trim Colorado State’s lead.
Redshirt junior forward Nik Mains used his size to his benefit and dominated in NAU’s high-low offense. He made a pair of baskets down low and hit a 3-pointer to add on to a successful half. In total, seven Lumberjacks scored in the half to close the Rams’ lead to 35-32 at halftime.
The success NAU had during the first half was short lived as the Lumberjacks fell apart in the second half.
A quick pair of three-pointers to open the second half was all Colorado State needed to find their confidence again. From there, the Rams turned a competitive game into a showcase as they outscored NAU 56-20 in the final 20 minutes.
There were stretches of success for the Lumberjacks, and at one point, Colorado State only led by 10 thanks to junior guard Cameron Shelton carrying the offensive load for a third-straight game. However, Shelton gassed out and NAU couldn’t buy a basket as the Rams continued to stretch their lead.
Colorado State outscored NAU 31-2 in the final eight minutes of the game.
Shelton and redshirt junior guard Luke Avdalovic were, once again, responsible for over 50% of the Lumberjacks’ points. This time, they scored 30 of NAU’s 52 points — 58%.
NAU opens Big Sky Conference play with a doubleheader weekend at home against Eastern Washington University.