Yanku helps lift NAU past Portland State

PORTLAND, Ore. — Sophomore guard Kris Yanku recorded his first career double-double as Northern Arizona topped Portland State 73-60 at the Peter W. Stott Center.

Yanku’s 13 points and 11 assists were crucial in the Lumberjacks earning their first Big Sky win of the season.

"The last two years we’ve played pretty well here," NAU coach Jack Murphy said. "You have to make free throws and take care of the basketball. We did that tonight. I’m really proud of these guys tonight. We had a great effort from start to finish."

The Lumberjacks led by as many as 10 points midway through the first half. The Vikings were able to score the first basket of the game, but after NAU took a 9-8 lead after a Jordyn Martin layup in the paint, the rest of the half belonged to NAU.

With scoring efforts from seven different players, the Lumberjacks ran the Vikings up and down the court forcing six turnovers as the home team shot 40 percent from the floor to start the game.

NAU took a 34-27 lead into the locker room at the half backed by Martin’s eight points.

The second half was all blue and gold to start with Ako Kaluna and Quinton Upshur assisting in NAU’s 5-0 run to begin the second half.

The Vikings were able to commit a few fouls on NAU as they rattled off a 9-0 to trim the Lumberjacks’ lead to 44-39 with 13:11 left to play.

PSU was able to hit a three-pointer to come to within three points, but NAU responded with a 10-0 run with a pair of free throws by Martin, five straight points by Upshur, and a three-pointer from Kaluna.

The Vikings did all they could to hang in there with NAU, but in the end the Lumberjacks just didn’t give up.

NAU went on another run late in the game knocking down free throws and playing solid defense.

The Lumberjacks captured the 73-60 win after shooting 52.8 percent from the floor and holding PSU to 39.3 percent.

Kaluna finished with a career high 18 points and seven rebounds. Upshur had 12 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots, while Jordyn Martin had 12 and Aaseem Dixon 11.

Three players scored in double figures for the Vikings led by Gary Winston’s 18 points.