Sacramento State holds off NAU in Big Sky opener

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –€“ Sacramento State (7-5, 1-0) held off a late surge by Northern Arizona (5-9, 0-1) to secure a 78-73 victory over the Lumberjacks on Thursday night in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams.

Senior guard Quinton Upshur scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half to lead NAU, which trailed by 13 with 7:15 to play before rallying within striking distance. The Lumberjacks got as close at 70-68 before the Hornets were able to seal the victory. NAU made only 4 of 7 free throws over the final 2:24, while Sacramento State made 5 of 6 foul shots down the stretch.

Sacramento State 78, NAU 73

"We have to be a little more selective with our shots down the stretch," NAU coach Jack Murphy said. "We played really hard and competed until the end. It was a challenge down to the last second. The guys have an extra gear in them this year, and I’m happy to see that. It was a tough road game to start off with, but we need to convert at the foul line and from the floor."

NAU shot 42.9 percent from the floor, 33.3 percent from 3-point distance, and 65.8 percent from the free throw line. Jordyn Martin finished with a career high 14 points, followed by Ako Kaluna and Aaseem Dixon with 11 points each.

Dylan Garrity scored a game-high 26 points and went 11 of 12 from the free throw line for the Hornets.

NAU will continue Big Sky play Saturday at Portland State on Saturday night.