PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland State broke a late tie in the final five minutes of the game and held NAU scoreless for the final 3:53 of the contest to outlast the Lumberjacks for a 66-61 win on Thursday night. The Vikings shot 52.2 percent in the second half and erased a seven-point second-half deficit to earn the win.
“We didn’t hit shots at the end but it was really our defensive rebounding,” NAU had coach Sue Darling said. “You play quality teams in this league, and when you don’t play quality defense you’re not going to win games.”
NAU senior Amy Patton totaled six rebounds in the contest to surpass Alyssa Wahl as the Lumberjacks all-time leading rebounder as she brought her career total to 773 boards. She also added nine points to tie for fifth in Big Sky history in career scoring with 1,834 career points while senior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins paced the Lumberjacks with 19 points while making 5-of-9 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Senior Aubrey Davis added 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three blocks to lead the Lumberjack effort.
The game was tied at 58-58 before the Vikings took a 60-58 lead with 4:48 to play. Portland State moved to a four point lead before Davis hit a jumper with 3:53 remaining to bring NAU within two points at 63-61. That would be NAU’s final points of the game as the Vikings added a jumper and a free-throw and forced four NAU misses and two turnovers to close out the win.
Northern Arizona (5-16, 4-8 Big Sky) held a slight .407-.403 advantage in field-goal percentage for the game and had a season-high nine blocks. Portland State (11-11, 5-8 Big Sky) held a 41-36 rebounding edge with 20 offensive rebounds leading to 14 second chance points. There were six ties and eight lead changes in the game with neither team leading by more than seven points.
The Vikings jumped to an early 4-0 lead to open the first half before the Lumberjacks made four straight shots to take a 9-4 advantage. NAU maintained a lead until the Vikings pulled ahead by one at 17-16 as the game would be tied at 25-25 with less than six minutes remaining in the opening half. An 11-4 Lumberjack run gave NAU a 36-29 lead before PSU scored the final four points of the half to cut its deficit to 36-33 at the break.
NAU scored the first four points of the second half to extend back to a seven point cushion and remained ahead until Portland State sophomore Allison Greene – who scored a career-high 23 points in the contest on 10-of-18 shooting – hit a jumper with 10:40 to play to give the home team a 45-44 lead. Neither team led by more than four points for the next 10 minutes before PSU turned the late 58-58 tie into a 66-61 win.
The Lumberjacks will end a stretch of five of six games on the road when the play at 3:05 p.m. Arizona time Saturday at Eastern Washington.