NAU’s rally comes up short in sloppy loss

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — Tevin Svihovec scored 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting and dished out four assists as Northern Colorado outlasted Northern Arizona 76-68 on Thursday night.

Derrick Barden had 21 points and six rebounds for Northern Colorado (8-15, 6-9 Big Sky), which shot 56 percent from the field, while teammate Tate Unruh chipped in with 17 points and five steals.

The Bears led 35-26 at halftime but surrendered a 9-0 run by the Lumberjacks capped off by Max Jacobsen’s lay-up to tie it at 35 just 1:42 into the second half. Northern Colorado responded with a 14-6 run over the next 6 minutes and didn’t look back.

Northern Arizona committed 23 turnovers; the Bears had 14 steals.

“(The turnovers) were more on us,” said NAU coach Jack Murphy.

“Northern Colorado is a good team and they are well coached. They do not

put a lot of pressure on you. A lot of the turnovers were unforced and

uncharacteristic of how we have been playing lately. It is not

indicative of the team that we have.”

The Lumberjacks closed to within four points with six minutes left in the game,  but Svihovec scored seven straight points, including two 3-pointers, to push the lead back to nine. NAU never got any closer.

Gabe Rogers led Northern Arizona (9-16, 6-9) with 23 points and

three rebounds. DeWayne Russell had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 25

minutes off the bench for the Lumberjacks.

“Gabe is an outstanding player and it is well documented how much we rely on Gabe and what a great roll he has been on lately,” said Murphy. “He has been playing at an all-conference level, and I think he is one of the best scorers in the league.”

Senior guard Stallon Saldivar added seven points and five assists before leaving the game with an injury.

The Lumberjacks next travel to Grand Forks, N.D., for a Saturday afternoon game against North Dakota.

“We have to be mentally ready to play, individually and as a group, doing your job and understanding your roles,” said Murphy. “I think we will have a much better showing on Saturday.”