After a five-day break, the Lumberjacks traveled to Portland to face the Vikings, but couldn't beat their losing streak and lost to Portland State University 103-94.
Prior to the Feb. 14 game, both teams had lost their last three games. NAU's biggest challenge this game was covering the Vikings top scorer, sophomore guard Holland Woods, who has an average of 14.3 points per game.
Portland State started off with a full-court press to speed up the Lumberjacks. NAU turned the ball over six times within the first 5 minutes of the game.
NAU's offense put a spark back in the game, hitting three 3-pointers from sophomore guard Carlos Hines, freshman guard Luke Avdalovic and sophomore forward Bernie Andre. Each team kept attacking the basket and the referee wasn't shy to blow his whistle. Combined, the two teams shot 31 free throws within the first half. NAU's biggest flaw in the first half was rushing passes through the press, which led to 13 turnovers.
NAU’s best first half offense consisted of freshman guard Cameron Shelton with 12 points and Bernie Andre, 13 points, with 12 of those points coming from the line. In the last 7 minutes of the half Portland State’s offense came together outscoring the Lumberjacks 25-18. The Vikings led at half 58-44.
In the second half, the Vikings outscored the Lumberjacks 16-9 within the first 6 minutes. The Vikings had three players score 20 or more points, Holland Woods (27), junior guard Michal Nuga (22) and junior forward Sal Nuhu (20).
Lumberjack freshman forward Nik Mains had the best game of his career. Mains shot 5-7 from the court and had a career high of 12 points. NAU's best 3-point shooter, Luke Avdalovic, hit four shots from behind the arc in the second half. The game ended with a total of 56 free throws. NAU outscored PSU 50-45 in the second half, but their first half struggles cost them the game.
Turning point: The Lumberjacks lacked on defense. NAU allowed PSU to have their fourth 100-point game this season, scoring a total 103 points. This is the most points NAU has allowed to any opponent this season.
Prime Performer: NAU’s best performers were Bernie Andre and Luke Avdalovic. Andre ended the game with his fifth season double-double, 20 points and 12 rebounds. Avdalovic ended the game with 20 points shooting 6-10 from behind the arc.
Quotable: “We had 12 turnovers in the first 12 minutes of the game, we only had four in the last 28 minutes. Once we settled in good things were happening. They beat us by 13 on points off turnovers, they beat us by 9, that’s really the ball game,” said NAU coach Jack Murphy.
What’s Next? NAU has now lost four straight games, dropping them to 7-17 overall and 5-8 in the Big Sky Conference. Next, they will travel to Sacramento Feb. 16 to take on the Hornets. The last time these teams faced, the Lumberjacks lost to a last second buzzer beater.