FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Matt Gebhardt scored 21 points to lead four Northern Arizona players in double figures as NAU defeated Sacramento State, 90-70, Saturday night at the J.L. Walkup Skydome.
Jimmy White recorded his first career double-double on Saturday.
The win improved the Lumberjacks to 13-10 overall and 6-4 in the Big Sky Conference. The Hornets fell to 9-15 overall and 3-7 in league games. The team, however, maintained a half-game lead over Idaho State and a whole-game advantage over Portland State for the sixth and final berth into the Big Sky Tournament.
Along with strong performances by its starters, NAU took advantage of poor three-point shooting by Sacramento State, a strong run midway through the game and a tremendous advantage at the free throw line. The Lumberjacks saw four of their five starters crack double figures led by Gebhardt. The guard, who has won at least a share of the last two Big Sky Conference Player of the Week awards, made 6-of-10 attempts including three three-pointers. Casey Grundman added 13 while Kodiak Yazzie and Ryan McDade contributed 12 and 10, respectively.
Northern Arizona shot .500 as a team while the Hornets managed to make just 28 of their 69 attempts (.406). The team struggled mightily from long-range missing 18-of-20 attempts. The team?s leading scorer, Joe Dawson, was held to a season-low five points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Helping spark NAU was a strong run at the conclusion of the first half which carried into the second period. Trailing, 34-26, with 3:39 left the Lumberjacks ended the half on a 15-0 run to take a 41-34 lead into halftime. NAU continued the spurt at the start of the second half and eventually stretched it to a 23-4 run which resulted in a 49-38 lead.
After Sacramento State pulled within seven, 51-44, the Lumberjacks outscored the Hornets, 19-6, to put the game out of reach. From that point, Sacramento State was never able to pull closer than 13 points.
Northern Arizona scored 12 more points than the Hornets at the free throw line alone. The Lumberjacks made 34-of-45 attempts from the line while Sacramento State was 12-for-18. As a team, the Hornets were whistled for 26 fouls while NAU was called for 17.
Jimmy White and Joel Jones tied for the team lead with 14 points. Rashaad Hooks tallied 12 and Cedric Thompkins added 11. White also led the team with 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year.
Sacramento State will play its final two road games of the season next weekend. The team will play at first-place Montana State on Friday before travelling to Montana on Saturday. Both games can be heard on KTKZ 1380 AM. The Montana State contest will be tape delayed until 10 p.m. while the Montana game will start at 6:05 p.m.