SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Foul trouble hindered Northern Arizona (0-2) from establishing an offensive rhythm as it fell to Tennessee State 69-65 in game two of the Cable Car Classic.
"I'm really proud of the team," said head coach Jack Murphy. "Defensively we came back and forced 18 turnovers. Our defensive stats kept us in the game because our offense was not there tonight. It's early in the season and we know we need to work on some things. We took too many three-pointers tonight. That's not going to work. We need to get in the paint more."
Marcus DeBerry recorded 16 points, Jaleni Neely scored 15 points and Ako Kaluna had 14 points to lead the NAU offensive charge. All three players had six rebounds, while Jordyn Martin had a game-high eight boards in the four-point loss.
The first half was close the entire way with neither team leading by more than four points. NAU's Mike Green hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Lumberjacks up 30-28 at the half against Tennessee State. The Lumberjacks were in foul trouble from the top of the lineup to the bottom and shooting 24.2 percent from the field didn't help.
NAU's scoring was stunted by its scoring droughts in the second half, aiding in its 29.3 shooting percentage. Kaluna scored 10 of his 14 points in the second period with the team going 14 of 18 from the charity stripe.
The Lumberjacks couldn't shake Tennessee State (2-0), and the Tigers managed to out-rebound NAU en route to their second straight win.
Tahjere McCall had 16 points and six rebounds and Ken'Darrius Hamilton scored 14 points on 7-for-12 shooting, while Tennessee State shot 40.7 from the field. The Tigers made just one 3-pointer on the night going 1-for-14 from long range, but it used its inside game to edge NAU in the paint 38 to 16.
NAU closes out play in the Cable Car Classic tomorrow against UC Davis (1-1). Tip-off versus the Aggies is set for 1 p.m.