NAU extends win streak to four games

Senior forward Brooks DeBisschop (22) dribbles and turns against Sacramento State's player in the first half of the game at the Walkup Skydome Jan. 27. The final score was 69-54, a victory for NAU.

The men's basketball team improved to 11-7 and extended their winning streak to four with a 69-54 win against the Sacramento State University (SSU) Hornets Monday night. The win snapped a two-game losing streak to the Hornets dating back to March 19, 2019.

The Hornets quickly found a 5-0 lead through the first 1:55 of the game. NAU scored its first points of the game from free throws by senior forward Brooks DeBisschop, which started an 18-15 run for the Lumberjacks over the next 10 minutes of the first half.

The Hornets continued to shake off Lumberjack advances by SSU senior center Joshua Patton’s and SSU junior guard Bryce Fowler’s 13 combined points through the first 13 minutes of the game.

DeBisschop tied the game 25-25 on a layup with 5:49 left in the first half. Fowler quickly regained the lead for the Hornets 16 seconds later. However, NAU held the Hornets to one field goal over the last 5:03 in the first half.

The Lumberjacks got their first lead with 3:32 left in the first half from two free throws by redshirt sophomore guard Luke Avdalovic. NAU continued its dominance at the line and the perimeter by making all 10 free throws and shooting 5-for-11 from beyond the arc in the first half. Over the final six minutes, the Lumberjacks outscored the Hornets 12-4. DeBisschop and junior forward Bernie Andre led the way with 8 points each in the first half.

NAU started the second half up 37-29. The Lumberjacks continued their perimeter and paint dominance as they held the Hornets to 6 points through the first six minutes into the second half.

Defensively, the Lumberjacks kept the dominance going, as the unit held the Hornets to 33.3% shooting in the game. The NAU offense, meanwhile, combined its 76.9 free-throw percentage with a 51.2 field-goal percentage for the entire game.

“It has been about us more than the other team,” NAU head coach Shane Burcar said. “Tonight we did a couple of different things defensively but for the most part we are going to run our offensive stuff and defensively we are going to trust our concepts.”

With 6 rebounds in the game, DeBisschop is one board away from cracking NAU’s top 10 for all-time rebounds.

“My goal is to go get 10 a game,” DeBisschop said. “It was a good team effort rebounding wise, but as a starting center, I am always going to try to clean up the glass … I don’t really look at the leaderboards, but maybe when I am done playing it will be cool to look back and be on those.”

The Lumberjacks continue their four-game homestand Saturday when they take on the University of Idaho. The home stretch will end Feb. 3 when the Lumberjacks take on Eastern Washington University.