NAU pulls away from Eastern Washington in second half

Quinton Upshur (center) scored a career-high 26 points in NAU's win over Eastern Washington.              

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Quinton Upshur scored a career-high 26 points as the Northern Arizona men’€™s basketball team improved to 4-1 in the Big Sky Conference for the first time since 2008 with an 84-65 win over Eastern Washington on Thursday night.

€"Starting 4-1 in the conference is huge for us," Upshur said. "You never know what is going to happen in the Big Sky so getting these road wins and protecting our home court is big for us."

NAU (7-9, 4-1 Big Sky) finished the first half with a 16-5 run to take a 36-27 halftime lead, then blew the game open by scoring the first 11 points of the second half.

The Lumberjacks shot 60.9 percent in the second half after making just 40 percent in the first 20 minutes. They limited the Eagles (7-9, 2-3) to 30 percent shooting in each half and 4 of 23 shooting from 3-point range.

€"We’€™ve worked on the press all year," NAU coach Jack Murphy said. "€œThe farther we get into conference play, the better we’€™ve gotten. The players are really starting to get it. It feels good to win our third game in a row, but most importantly we have to get back to work tomorrow and prepare for Saturday."€

Freshman Ako Kaluna also had a career high for the Lumberjacks with 15 points. Aaseem Dixon also had 15 points, and Len Springs contributed four blocked shots in just six minutes of action. It was NAU’€™s first win over the Eagles since Feb. 16, 2011.