FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Junior guard Aaseem "The Dream" Dixon led Northern Arizona with 22 points as the Lumberjacks defeated Sacramento State 75-65 in their Big Sky Conference home opener. NAU scored 44 second half points to run past the Hornets and garner the victory.
"My staff did a great job tonight in coaching our guys," said head coach Jack Murphy. "We try to focus on our positives and expand on them. We have to protect our home court because it is very difficult to go on the road. We didn't play championship basketball in the first half, but our play picked up in the second half so I'm glad we were able to come away with the win."
Dixon also grabbed a career-high seven rebounds to lead NAU. Quinton Upshur netted 18 points and Max Jacobsen added 17 to lead the Lumberjacks on offense. NAU shot 48 percent from the floor, but struggled from the free throw line connecting on 16 of 28 attempts.
"It feels really good to win our first home game in the Big Sky and we want to protect the Dome," said Dixon. "Coach (Murphy) says play hard because we need to get every home win during conference to be a top team in the Big Sky."
NAU (5-9, 2-1 Big Sky) trailed the Hornets 32-31 at the half, despite scoring 12 points off turnovers and shooting 48 percent from the field.
A 7-0 run for NAU midway through the half saw the Lumberjacks take a 47-40 lead. NAU went up by as many as 13 points with 7:15 to go after a layup by Jacobsen. The Lumberjacks never trailed in the last 15 minutes of the game, although the Hornets began to press NAU with the hope of producing a turnover.
NAU scored the final six points of the game – all from the free throw line – to seal the win and earn its second conference game.
Sacramento State (4-8, 0-3 Big Sky) was led by Mikh McKinney, who notched 15 points for the Hornets. Dylan Garrity added 12 points to round out Sacramento State's top scorers. The Hornets shot 48.1 percent from the field and 50 percent from the free throw line.
Notes: Aaseem Dixon recorded his ninth double figure scoring game and third straight…Third 20-point scoring game for Dixon…Team-high 12th double figure scoring game for Quinton Upshur…Max Jacobsen registered his 10th double digit scoring game…