SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Northern Arizona's Gabe Rogers scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, and the Lumberjacks used a 25-10 run over the game's final 11 minutes to defeat Sacramento State, 62-61, in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball game Monday evening at the Nest.
The Hornets led by 10 points at halftime (35-25), and were seemingly in control after a three-pointer by gave the team a game-high 14-point lead (51-37) with 11:17 to play. However, the Lumberjacks responded with a 14-2 run to close within, 53-51, with 5:15 remaining. The Hornets connected on just one field goal during that six-minute span, which included a stretch of four consecutive possessions with a turnover.
After the Lumberjacks sliced the lead to 53-51, sunk a three-pointer to put the Hornets back on top, 56-51, with 4:43 remaining. NAU, however, scored the game's next seven points, capped by a three-pointer from Rogers to take its largest lead at two points (58-56) with 2:14 remaining. Hornet freshman immediately responded with a three-pointer to put Sacramento State back on top, 59-58, with 1:49 left.
Both teams didn't score on their next possessions, and after a Dickson turnover, the Lumberjacks' Michael Dunn ran the length of the floor for a fast-break lay-in to put NAU back on top, 60-59, with 50 seconds left. After whittling the shot clock down, the Hornets' answered with a runner to put Sacramento State ahead, 61-60, with 19 seconds left. Electing not to use a timeout, NAU then drove the length of the floor, and Dunn was forced into an off-balance layup that missed badly, but a foul was called on Dickson with seven seconds remaining. Dunn knocked down both free throws, including the second which hit the rim three times before falling in.
After a Sacramento State timeout, the Hornets inbounded the ball to Garrity, who raced the length of the floor, and was forced into an off-balance 15-footer that drew iron but did not fall as the buzzer sounded. In a game that featured five lead changes in the final two minutes, it was NAU that scored on six of its final seven possessions to steal the victory.
Sacramento State posted season lows in rebounds (20), free throws made (1) and free throws attempted (2) as the Hornets continue to suffer on the glass without a healthy . The senior center, who missed the final 34 minutes of Thursday's game against Southern Utah with a knee injury, tried to gut it out tonight, but finished with no points and no rebounds in 14 minutes. Since his injury at the 14:28 mark of the Southern Utah game, the Hornets have been outrebounded, 62-42. That included a 27-20 rebounding disparity tonight. Just a week and a half ago, Sacramento State was the top rebounding team in conference play.
With the loss, Sacramento State had its three-game home winning streak snapped while dropping to 10-10 overall, 5-7 in Big Sky play, and 7-3 at home. In addition, the team suffered its first loss of the season when wearing its gold uniforms (4-1). Of the Hornets' 10 losses this season, three have come by one point and each of those games came against a conference opponent in heartbreaking fashion.
Northern Arizona (8-14, 5-7) won its third road game of the season (3-9) and has now won three of its last five games overall.
The Hornets shot 51.0 percent (25-49) from the field and 55.6 percent (10-18) from the three-point line, but could not get to the free throw line as NAU was whistled for just nine fouls the entire contest. Entering the game, Sacramento State was averaging 17.2 made free throws per game, which was tied for the eighth best mark in the nation. In addition, the Hornets allowed 34 of NAU's 62 points to come in the paint.
Northern Arizona also shot well, connecting on 54.2 percent (26-48) from the field while connecting on four three-pointers and 6-of-8 from the free throw line. The Lumberjacks gave up just four second-chance points.
For Sacramento State, Garrity and Dickson both had a team-high 13 points while McKinney finished with 12 points. The trio combined for 38 of the team's 61 points, but McKinney was limited to just four points during the final 36 minutes of the contest. Seven different Hornets connected on at least one three-pointer, including three long balls from Garrity. Dickson shared the team lead in rebounding with as both players had six boards. Demps finished with seven points and added six points. Garrity had a team-best six assists.
For the Lumberjacks, Rogers' 22 points came on 9-of-17 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. He scored 10 of those points during NAU's 25-10 run to close the contest. Max Jacobsen finished with 16 points and five rebounds, Dunn added eight points (four points during the final 50 seconds), and Stallon Saldivar had seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 37 minutes.
Tonight marked the first of a stretch that will see the Hornets play three home games over a six-day span, which includes games on Thursday against Eastern Washington and Saturday vs. Portland State. Both games will begin at 7:05 p.m.
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