Lumberjacks edge Loyola Marymount
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- To close out finals week at Northern Arizona University, the NAU men's basketball team had a big test as they faced Loyola Marymount in the Walkup Skydome. The Lumberjacks had five players score in double-figures as they defeated the Lions 71-69.
"I am so proud of our guys today after against a tough team," NAU coach Jack Murphy said. "We had an intense week of practices and our guys responded by coming out playing really strong and that is good to find out before conference starts because we know who we can count on this season."
Quinton Upshur gave NAU (3-6) the lead with 42 seconds left in the game off a layup that gave the Lumberjacks a 68-66 lead.
"I had slid to the corner and Kris (Yanku) found me," said Upshur. "I had made some three's earlier in the game so they closed out on me so I was able to react and get to the basket and try and make a play for the team."
After a block by Upshur on the following play, the senior converted on two free throws to give NAU a four-point lead. LMU made a three-pointer with four seconds left but the Lumberjacks were able to convert on a free throw by Yanku to give NAU the two-point win over the Lions.
"This is a really good win for us after we felt that we gave one away against UTSA last week," Upshur said. "We had a solid week of practice and tonight we were cutting to the basket and it showed that our practices paid off."
There were 16 lead changes between the Lumberjacks and the Lions but the Lumberjacks were able to force 16 turnovers and converted 14 points off those turnovers.
It was a back and forth first half as NAU went into halftime with a 35-32 lead. There were 10 lead changes in the first half with the biggest lead coming from the Lumberjacks as they held a five-point lead midway through the first half. NAU received scoring contributions from seven different players in the first half with Upshur leading the Lumberjacks with seven points after the first 20 minutes. Len Springs filled up the stat sheet in the first half with four points, one block and six rebounds.
The Lumberjacks were efficient on offense shooting 42.9 percent from the field with only three turnovers. The Lions (3-5) relied heavily on Evan Payne in the first half as he led LMU with 17 points off 5-9 shooting.