NAU ends skid with win over Idaho State

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Gabe Rogers scored 22 points and DeWayne Russell had 19 as Northern Arizona defeated Idaho State 60-55 Saturday night.

It snapped a four-game losing streak for the Lumberjacks and was their first regular-season road victory in the Big Sky Conference since beating Sacramento State in 2011, a span of 13 games.

“I am so proud of our guys for grinding out a win on the road against a
very good team,” said coach Jack Murphy. “It is a really good Idaho
State team. They had won three of their last four entering our game and
are going to be a real difficult team to beat at home and on the road.”

Northern Arizona (6-12, 3-5 Big Sky) broke a 45-45 tie when Russell scored five straight points to put the Lumberjacks ahead 50-46 with 5:55 remaining.

Idaho State (4-13, 3-5) pulled within 52-51 with 2:13 left on Andre Hatchett’s basket, but he missed the ensuing free throw.

NAU then pulled away, as Jordyn Martin had a basket and two free throws during a 6-0 burst.

“’I thought the guys did a great job in the last few minutes of the
game,” said Murphy. “They controlled the pace, did a good job on the
boards and took care of the basketball. When they had to go to the line,
for the most part, they made their free throws. We did a good job
knocking them down when we had the opportunity tonight.”

Tomas Sanchez led Idaho State with 12 points, while Hatchett and Melvin Morgan each had 11.

NAU got a career-best 14 rebounds from Gaellan Bewernick and outrebounded Idaho State 36-27.

The Lumberjacks return home for a pair of games this week against Northern Colorado and North Dakota.

“A big thing for us is confidence, and I am sure that is true for a lot of teams in this conference,” said Murphy. “You have to have confidence when you go out and play.

“Coming off a win, you have confidence, and we come back home now. It will be our first home game in a long time with students able to be there. We ask everyone to come out Thursday and Saturday and pack the Dome to get the home court environment going. Hopefully, it will energize the Flagstaff community and campus to come out and support us.”