Yanku, NAU edge Sacramento St. to crowd top of Big Sky
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Only seconds after getting a similar shot blocked, Kris Yanku drove for a runner and banked it off the glass from four feet out with four seconds remaining, lifting Northern Arizona to a 70-68 victory over Sacramento State in a battle with Big Sky Conference tourney implications on Saturday.
"Coach (Jack) Murphy drew up a play and we knew we had to execute," Yanku siad. "I know I needed to drive to the basket and connect. In my mind I just wanted to make the shot."
The loss cost Sacramento State a second-straight chance to claim the top seed outright, but the Hornets (19-10, 13-5) could still host the tournament if Montana (13-4) and Eastern Washington (13-4) both lose later Saturday.
Northern Arizona joins the crowd atop the Sky at 18-13, 13-5.
Yanku's winner was contested by at least two Sac State players. Ako Kaluna knotted the contest at 68 with two free throws with two minutes to play.
"I'm feeling pretty good, because that was a big win," NAU coach Jack Murphy said. "I was proud of the guys and the way they guarded during the second half. We decided to play defense like we've played for the entire season, holding their shooting to 40 percent. The guys stepped up and played some tough basketball. That is a great team and to hold them to 29 points in the second half is outstanding."
Mikh McKinney (19 points), who had scored Sacramento State's previous 12 points, missed a jumper with 1:19 left and a 3-point try at the buzzer.