Men’s hoops skid reaches 14, among worst in the West
The NAU men’s basketball team squared off against the UC Davis Aggies in their final home contest of the season at the Rolle Activity Center in a Sears BracketBuster game. UC Davis proved there are two halves in a game for a reason to overcome a 19-point halftime deficit to beat the Lumberjacks 70–65.
The Jacks entered the game in the midst of a devastating 13-game losing streak. They came onto the court looking to end the streak and send lone senior forward Durrell Norman off with a victory in his final home game as a Lumberjack.
What ensued was nothing short of a total eclipse of the heart.
The Jacks stormed out the gate, jumping to an 18–8 lead in the early minutes of the game. The charge was lead by the man of the night, Norman, who finished with a career-high 26 points, along with seven rebounds.
“It felt really weird to have all the attention centered around you,” Norman said.
Redshirt freshman forward Gaellan Bewernick played the role of Wolverine to Norman’s Cyclops0. Bewernick recorded a double-double with 14-points and a career-high 13 boards, nine of which were on the offensive glass.
Outside of Norman and Bewernick, there was little support from any other player throughout the game. The only other player to score in double figures was freshman guard James Douglas with 10 points. The Jacks played without junior guard Gabe Rodgers, who lead the team with 25 points in the previous game against Idaho State.
Going into the locker room, the Jacks lead the Aggies 45–26, looking like they would finally break the streak and return to the win column.
But the Aggies had something to say about that.
At the onset of the second half, the Aggies went on a 34–7 run, capturing the lead at 60–52 through the first 10 minutes of play. In the first half, the Aggies shot 41.4 percent, but recorded a 51 percent clip in the second half.
“They started hitting shots and started believing, we couldn’t hit a shot and we started not believing; and as a result, we lost,” Bewernick said. “They were hitting everything in the second half.”
The second stanza was the worst shooting half for the Jacks all season, shooting 26.7 percent from the field after lighting it up with 55.6 percent in the first act of the game.
On the sidelines, the Jacks players looked dejected and disconnected from the effort on the court by their teammates. Players hung their heads and seemed unwilling to be in the moment.
“It’s part of the whole team believing, not just one, two, three or four guys, it’s got to be the whole team, in practice you’ve got to be serious,” Bewernick said. “It’s tough on us, we feel like it’s just us, the five guys out there. I’m not trying to knock my bench down, they’re there sometimes, but then the egos come into play … They’re in it for a little bit when we’re winning, but not when we’re down.”
Interim head coach Dave Brown did not notice such reaction from his squad, but did see his players hustle.
“I didn’t see those things, but I’m real proud of how these young men are continuing to battle,” Brown said.
Players forced up shots that were outside of the game plan, which was the main factor to the woeful second half shooting percentage.
The final weekend of action for the Lumberjacks will be a trip to Montana, where they will play The University of Montana and Montana State University. They play at Montana on Thursday and Montana State on Saturday.