The 12-8 Lumberjacks went on the road to take on the 6-14 Idaho State University (ISU) Bengals. After putting up a good fight against the No. 1 ranked Eastern Washington University Eagles Monday, which ended in a 77-66 loss, the Lumberjacks dropped one spot in the Big Sky Conference standings to No. 5. With a strong offensive show, NAU was able to walk away with an 88-87 victory over the Bengals in overtime.
In the first half, neither team had the upper hand for the first 17 minutes of the game. NAU allowed the best free throw attempting team in the conference to score 12 of its first-half points from the free-throw line.
The Lumberjacks' biggest struggle was guarding ISU junior forward Malik Porter, who scored 10 points. ISU junior guard Tarik Cool also scored 9 points in the first half.
Interim head coach Shane Burcar said in the past that everyone on the court for NAU can score, which held true against ISU. The Lumberjacks had two players with double-digit points in the first half — junior guard Cameron Satterwhite, 10, and senior forward Brooks DeBisschop, 11. This was the ninth consecutive game that DeBisschop scored double-digit points.
At halftime, NAU led 38-35.
The Lumberjacks started the second half with a 9-1 run over the Bengals in the first three minutes.
Although ISU brought themselves back slowly, it eventually retook a 62-60 lead with 10:20 left in the second half. NAU’s sophomore guard Cameron Shelton took the lead back with a 3-pointer. For the next eight minutes, the teams went back and forth, as there were nine lead changes.
The Bengals had a two-point lead with seven seconds left, but a clutch layup by Shelton tied the game 80-80 with one second left before overtime.
In overtime, nothing changed, as neither team was able to pull away. There were six more lead changes but in the end, a jump shot from Satterwhite to take an 88-87 lead and a thrown away possession from the Bengals clinched the win for the Lumberjacks to improve to a 7-5 conference record.
Even with the win, Shelton said he did not feel that the team played a great game in a postgame press conference with NAU sportscaster Mitch Strohman.
“We didn’t feel like we played a good game,” Shelton said. “We knew that if we had a second shot at [ISU], we could not blow it.”
Although Burcar knows how tough his team is and is proud of what they were able to accomplish, he said they need to improve on some aspects of their game.
“That’s what it is about — coming back,” Burcar said. “We got to get a lot better defensively. Although, we will take it tonight and I thought we were pretty tough to pull the win.”
Four Lumberjacks scored double-digit points: DeBisschop with 15 points, Satterwhite with a career-high 19 points, Shelton with 24 points and junior forward Bernie Andre with 20 points.
The Lumberjacks stay on the road this Saturday when they take on the Weber State University Wildcats. NAU beat the Wildcats earlier in the year 72-64. The Wildcats are ranked No. 9 in the Big Sky Conference with a 5-7 conference record.