FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona University's men's basketball team hosted Northern Colorado for a Big Sky conference match up at the Skydome. NAU fell to the Bears with a final score of 74-59.
"Credit Northern Colorado, they were focused and they came in and made some tough shots," said head coach Jack Murphy. "The group at the end of the last six minutes played really hard but overall it is an unacceptable effort and we have to correct these mistakes before we face North Dakota."
NAU (11-15, 8-7 Big Sky) struggled to start the game as Northern Colorado (16-8, 10-5 Big Sky) opened up the game on a 12-2 run. The teams continued to exchange buckets in the first half before NAU was able to string together some stops and points toward the end of the half cutting the lead to five. However the UNC responded with a run of its own as they went into the halftime with a 38-28 advantage.
The second half was played evenly as the teams continued to exchange buckets throughout the half. Freshman Kris Yanku made plays throughout the second half during which he scored 11 points on the way to a team high 22 points. NAU would not get any closer than 10 points in the second half as the Bears shot nearly 70 percent from the field in the second half.
NAU spread the ball well, as multiple players were able to score points tonight, but it was enough to close the gap on UNC and earn the win. The Lumberjacks shot 47.8 percent from the floor, but a mere 25 percent from long range.
Tate Unruh led Northern Colorado in scoring with 24 points followed by Derrick Barden's 21 points. Tim Hukisson also contributed 10 points for the Bears. Northern Colorado shot 61.7 percent from the floor as a team and 61.1 percent from three-point range.
"We have to get buckled again," said Yanku. "We have to keep people off the three- point line because that's where we got hurt tonight. We have to play better defense, because that's the biggest issue for us right now."
Notes: Double figure scoring games Kris Yanku (11)…First time in conference play this season that NAU failed to have more than one player score in double figures…Quinton Upshur snapped a 14-game double figure scoring streak, as he finished with eight points…Len Springs recorded one blocked shot to bring his season total to 50.