Lumberjacks lose in overtime to Weber State on Senior Day
BY BRIAN GOSSET —
On a day where five of its seniors were being honored, the Northern Arizona University (NAU) men’s basketball team couldn’t hold on against a top conference opponent in Weber State University (WSU), falling 80–78 in overtime on March 2.
NAU (11–18, 8–10 Big Sky Conference (BSC)) led 63–56 with 2:26 remaining after three free throws were made by senior guard Gabe Rogers, but possession after possession, until the end, WSU drew fouls and made its free throws. The Wildcats (22–5, 16–2 BSC) finished regulation on a 13–6 run to tie it at 69, then held off the Lumberjacks in overtime to spoil NAU’s senior day.
After WSU bumped its lead to 39–29, early in the second half, the Lumberjacks responded with an 11–0 run to take their first lead of the game with 13:32 left. After shooting 51 percent in the first half, the Wildcats shot 38 percent in the second o allow the Lumberjacks to crawl their way back.
NAU went on a 23–6 run after Rogers hit back-to-back threes to give NAU a 52-45 lead, but WSU kept fighting. Led by junior forward Davion Berry who scored 25 points and was 11-of-13 from the free-throw line, the Wildcats inched their way back. Berry hit two big free throws to tie it at 69 before Rogers’ game-winning attempt missed.
Rogers scored 17 of his 25 points after halftime and made all of NAU’s shots from three, 6-of-13. He now has scored 10 or more in 14 straight games, and 20 or more in 10 of the past 12 games. With the 25 points, he passed James Plump (1966–69), Willie Nash (1962–66) and Dan McClintock (1996–2000) for sixth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,369 points. He also passed Northern Colorado’s Devon Beitzel (2007–11) for eighth on the Big Sky’s career three-pointers list (236).
NAU also honored senior guards Stallon Saldivar and Michael Dunn, and senior forwards Luis Flores and Ephraim Ekanem before the game. All five seniors started the game. Saldivar finished with five points, nine rebounds and four assists before fouling out with 25 seconds left in regulation. Dunn had eight points and four rebounds, while Ekanem and Flores saw limited action.
The Lumberjacks and Wildcats both shot 29 times in the first half, but WSU made three more baskets on its way to a 37–29 lead heading into the break.
NAU will be looking for some help from the rest of the conference, but a must-win game starts next week, as they visit Montana State University on March 7. The Lumberjacks then finish the regular season by visiting the best team in the conference, Montana University on March 9.