ISU edges NAU in final conference home game
The NAU men’s basketball team squared off against the Idaho State Bengals at Rolle Activity Center in their Big Sky Conference home finale. The game was a microcosm of the season, with the Jacks falling just short in their effort to end their losing streak with a final score of 79–73 on Feb. 11.
The Jacks are in the midst of a potentially historic 13-game losing streak, the longest since the late ’80s. The Lumberjacks came out determined to put an end to this streak, playing well on both ends of the floor and having one of their best offensive games of this calendar year. The onslaught to begin the game was lead by senior forward Durrell Norman, who ignited the Jacks offense, starting the game with a perfect 7–7 shooting from the field and finished with 15 points and six rebounds.
“Lately I’ve been more aggressive,” Norman said. “Tonight was just a good example of getting after it.”
In the first half, the Jacks seemed to have the momentum in their favor. Junior guard Michael Dunn continued his steady play on both ends of the floor, grabbing five rebounds and attacking the basket through the half. Also contributing to the effort in the first half was redshirt freshman forward Gaellan Bewernick, who was the main post presence defensively.
“I just tried to be physical with them,” Bewernick said. “They were physical with us, so I tried to be physical back . . . I just played hard, I didn’t want to let them score.”
Going into halftime, the Jacks trailed by two, 36–34, looking to end the streak.
That difference maker in the second half was Idaho State senior guard Kenny McGowen. McGowen put on a spectacular performance in the second half, and was nearly unstoppable from the 3-point line, hitting all five of his long range attempts. He finished 12–22 shooting with 37 points and was the reason the Bengals escaped with a win.
“[The] second half he didn’t miss a shot. It was tough,” Bewernick said. “He was way beyond the arc. There’s nothing you can do about that: When a guy’s on, he’s on.”
Opposing McGowen for the Jacks was junior guard Gabe Rogers. Rogers finished the first half 1-of-6 from the field. In the second half Rogers came out to play, and play he did. He finished with 25 points, for a personal season-high in points.
“It was so good to see Gabe,” said interim head coach Dave Brown. “He has battled hard and everybody saw what Gabe Rogers was made of.”
The next action for the Lumberjacks is Feb. 18 at home against the UC Davis Aggies in the Bracket Busters game at Rolle Activity Center.