Although junior forward Bernie Andre finished with 24 points and senior forward Brooks DeBisschop jumped in sole possession of eighth place on the NAU all-time rebounds list, the Lumberjacks were unable to overcome a slow offensive start and lost to the Weber State Wildcats 76-70 Saturday night.
Like in the past, the Lumberjacks’ struggles in Ogden, Utah continued with the loss. Over the last seven trips to Dee Events Center, NAU is 2-5. Their last win against the Wildcats in Utah came on Feb. 14, 2015.
Even though NAU scored the first points of the game off Andre’s corner 3-point splash, the Wildcats maintained the lead through the first eight minutes of the game despite being 0-6 from the perimeter. The Wildcats continued to put on the pressure and take advantage of the Lumberjacks, as they went on a 16-4 run over the next seven minutes. WSU senior guards Jerrick Harding and Cody John along with redshirt freshman forward Tim Fuller scored four points each during the run.
In the last six minutes of the half, NAU would score nine total points from Andre, DeBisschop, junior guard Cameron Satterwhite and sophomore guard Cameron Shelton. The Lumberjacks finished the half shooting 31% from the field and 3-13 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Wildcats finished the half shooting over 41% from the field despite being 2-13 from the 3-point arc. WSU junior forward Michal Kozak led the Wildcats in the first half with 7 points and 7 rebounds.
The Lumberjacks started the second half down 30-24 to the Wildcats. NAU continued to struggle to find baskets as they did not score their first field goal of the second half until four minutes in. Meanwhile, the Wildcats turned on the heat and began the second half on a 15-6 run through the first seven minutes.
Although the Lumberjacks shot over 50% from the field in the second half and were able to pull within 4 points with 55 seconds left in the game, the Wildcats were able to hold on and make the necessary free-throws, with the Wildcats going 7-8 in the last minute from the line. Harding shot two of those free throws and finished the game as the Wildcats’ leader on offense. He led the team with 24 points in 37 minutes of action.
With the loss, NAU drops to fifth place in the Big Sky Conference standings while the Wildcats remain in seventh.
NAU heads back home to face third-place Northern Colorado in a key Big Sky matchup at the Walkup Skydome this Thursday. The Lumberjacks complete the brief homestand with a date against fourth-place Southern Utah next Saturday.