Men’s basketball drops record-breaking final game
In the NAU men’s basketball final game of the season, it was business as usual for a team struggling to get a win. The Lumberjacks were downed by the Montana State (MSU) Bobcats 79-60, their 16th straight defeat and 15th straight in conference, a new school record.
“To Montana State’s credit, they just shot the lights out,” said interim head coach Dave Brown, who ends his tenure with a 3-16 record. “We just could not shut it down.”
A poor first half hurt the Jacks on the scoreboard, as they fell behind 45-31 at the break. No Lumberjack player reached ten points for the half as senior forward Durrell Norman led the Jacks at the break with nine. He was followed by sophomore guard Gabe Rogers who had eight and freshman guard James Douglas who recorded seven for the half.
NAU had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio for the half, recording six dimes to eight giveaways. The Lumberjacks made half of their shots in the frame and were 5-of-11 from deep, but the eight turnovers hurt them, as it gave the Bobcats multiple chances on the other end.
MSU capitalized on the turnovers and their home-court advantage, leading by as much as 16 with under a minute to play in the opening frame, before settling for the 14-point lead at the half. The Bobcats were led by Shawn Reid’s 14 points as he buried four of five 3-pointers in the frame. MSU also received eight points apiece from Tre Johnson and Christian Moon. The Bobcats shot 49 percent from the floor for the half, including a 54 percent clip from distance.
“We hung in there at the beginning,” Douglas said. “But, basketball is a game of runs and they got a lot more runs than us.”
The second 20 minutes started off oddly, with both teams trading missed buckets and not resembling the fast-paced first half. Norman and Bobcat forward Jordan Allou got into a small confrontation early in the half as the two battled for position under the basket, which resulted in each being hit with a technical foul, while Allou also got called for a personal.
“Not really sure what happened there,” Norman said. “He kind of got in my face and I’m not one to back down, so I got in his face too.”
From there, the Jacks went on to cut the Bobcat lead to 12 with about 14 minutes to play. MSU countered with a couple of buckets of their own and then connected on a couple of threes. Eventually, they stretched their lead to 19 at 61-42 and continued to pour it on.
It was the final game in Norman’s college career and the senior made sure to make a mark, finishing with 17 points and nine rebounds in 36 minutes of action. Douglas finished with 11 and Rogers scored 10.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately,” Norman said. “I’m trying to soak it in as much as possible.”
The Jacks now must focus their attention to next year.