The NAU men's basketball team headed to Portland, Oregon, for a matchup against the Portland State University (PSU) Vikings for their final meeting in the Big Sky Conference before the championship tournament. The first time these teams played each other, NAU claimed an 84-82 victory against at the Walkup Skydome.
In the first half, the Lumberjacks consistently scored 2-pointers, while the Vikings struggled with their 3-pointers but made up for it in offensive rebounds. PSU took the lead after the five-minute mark, making 10 of its 14 shots.
While the Lumberjacks were confident in their drives and defense, PSU began major coverage on them midway through the first half. The Lumberjacks regrouped after their first timeout with a 6-point deficit at the 11-minute mark. NAU quickly tied the game 22-22 just three minutes later.
The game was close for almost the entire first half, with both teams covering well and rebounding often. Even though Portland led most of the first half, NAU closed the gap to 2 points going into halftime.
Both teams came into the second half fired up. Junior forward Bernie Andre made two back-to-back 3-pointers. While PSU kept the pressure with three consecutive layups, two by junior guard Alonzo Walker and one by senior forward Holland Woods.
NAU was down by 10 points at the midway point of the second half but closed the gap to a 3-point deficit in less than two minutes. Unfortunately, the comeback attempt was unsuccessful for the Lumberjacks, as PSU secured the victory 80-66.
Throughout the game, NAU severely struggled with their free throws, going 8-20, while Portland went 10-12. Points after turnovers were a struggle as well. NAU only scored 12 points from its 17 turnovers, while PSU scored 28 points from only 12 turnovers.
With the loss, The Lumberjacks will end their 2019-20 regular season with an overall 16-13 record and a 10-10 conference record. The team will travel to Boise, Idaho, for the Big Sky Championship, which starts Monday.