The Lumberjacks traveled to the University of Montana to face off against the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are the best team in the Big Sky Conference with a record of 21-7 overall and 14-3 in the BSC.
The game was neck and neck, but sophomore guard Carlos Hines was unable to hit the game-winning 3-pointer for NAU, resulting in a 66-64 Montana win.
NAU started the game hitting three 3-pointers within the first 4 minutes. For the next 6 minutes, the game was neck and neck. Both teams played strong defense, not allowing the other to capitalize on easy shots. The score was tied 18-18 with 9:51 left in the first half. The Lumberjacks played a slow-paced offense, taking smart shots and not allowing the Grizzlies to get into any type of offensive rhythm. NAU’s first half shooting with seven 3-pointers was their biggest advantage. At the half, NAU led the Grizzlies 35-27.
In the second half the Grizzlies scored 16 points but the Lumberjacks held on to the lead. NAU scored another 13 points bringing the score to 48-43 with 10:09 left in the second half. Montana fought back to take a 61-58 lead with 3:26 left in the game. The fate of the match up came down to one play in the last few seconds, but the Grizzlies ultimately took the win.
Turning Point: Montana’s senior guard Bobby Moorehead shot a 3-pointer to take the lead with 3:26 left in the game. NAU, who led for 27 minutes in the game, was not able to find another lead after this shot.
Prime Performer: Hines led the team with 18 points. He fought through the game, hitting some tough shots and playing hard on defense.
Best quote: “I thought we did a great job, defensively I thought it was one of our best efforts of the year. You have to give credit to Montana, their seniors made plays there at the end,” said NAU coach Jack Murphy.
What’s next?: NAU heads to Colorado for their last game in the regular season to take on the Northern Colorado Bears. The Bears are the second ranked team in Big Sky Conference with an overall record of 22-7 and 15-3 in BSC. With this loss, NAU is 7-12 in conference play and 9-20 overall.