NAU looks to secure postseason berth on final weekend

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Northern Arizona (13-16, 10-8 Big Sky) men’s basketball team concludes its regular season with a pair of home games on Thursday and Saturday, with a berth in the Big Sky Tournament hanging in the balance.

The Lumberjacks host Montana State (14-15, 9-9 Big Sky) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night in the Walkup Skydome, then face Montana (16-11, 11-7 Big Sky) on Saturday at 3 p.m. Thursday night’s game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona on tape delay at 8:30 p.m. Friday, and Saturday’s game can be seen live on FOX Sports Arizona Plus.

After sweeping a pair of road games against Idaho State and conference-leading Weber State last week, NAU enters the final weekend in fourth place in the tightly bunched Big Sky and looking to cement its place as one of seven teams advancing to next week’s conference tournament. But five teams — Northern Colorado, Montana State, Eastern Washington, Sacramento State and Portland State — are within one game of the Lumberjacks and looking to move up. Depending on the final weekend’s results, NAU could finish anywhere from third to ninth place in the Big Sky standings.

The Score

The Lumberjacks traveled to play the Montana schools in early January and came away with a split. They lost 68-66 to Montana State on Michael Dison’s layup at the buzzer but pulled off a 73-65 upset win at Montana behind 23 points from Aaseem Dixon and 21 from Max Jacobsen. NAU’s win snapped a 31-game home-court winning streak for the Grizzlies against Big Sky opponents.

NAU junior guard Quinton Upshur is the reigning Big Sky Player of the Week after scoring 54 points in last week’s two victories. He averages a team-high 16.3 points per game, followed by Jacobsen at 12.1 and Dixon at 11.0.

Jacobsen and fellow senior Chris Heine will be honored prior to Saturday’s game.