FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Backed by an all-around team effort, Northern Arizona men's basketball defeated in-state rival Grand Canyon 63-61 in front of a rowdy Lumberjack crowd at the Walkup Skydome.
"The crowd brought us the energy we needed," said junior forward Len Springs. "It was great to see the fans excited. They brought us to life and helped us pull this one out."
In a game that went down to the wire, it was NAU that came out on top. Grand Canyon led 57-54 after a three-pointer by Daniel Alexander with 5:08 to go. A layup by Aaseem Dixon, followed by a trey by Max Jacobsen would erase the Antelopes' lead and give NAU a 59-57 edge.
Grand Canyon (5-4) was able to tie the game at 61-All with 40 seconds left in the game, but Jacobsen registered the game winning jumper with 18 seconds left in the game. Grand Canyon attempted a shot with six seconds left, but Springs came up with his fifth block of the game at the perfect time as he rejected Killian Larson's shot.
NAU (3-7) snapped a four-game losing streak as it knocked off the Antelopes at home.
"Coach (Jack Murphy) told us to keep our heads up and stay strong on defense so we were able to get some stops and grab some rebounds," said Dixon.
Dixon had an impressive game for NAU as he recorded a team-high 17 points, to go along with four rebounds, five steals and four assists. Quinton Upshur added 14 points, three rebounds and three steals, while Jacobsen chipped in 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Springs added a whopping five blocked shots tonight in his first career start, plus six points and five rebounds.
Four Grand Canyon players scored in double figures. Larson registered a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Demetrius Walker and Jerome Garrison notched 15 points apiece, while Daniel Alexander had 14 points in his season debut.
The Lumberjacks will have next week off before traveling to the University of Arizona on Dec. 23 to play their final game of 2013.