Even with 35 free-throw attempts and a 53 percent shooting performance, the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks failed to end their struggles on the road against the Sacramento State Hornets.
An 87-70 loss to the Hornets (9-11, 5-6 Big Sky) dampened the the opening of Big Sky Conference’s second half for the Lumberjacks (9-13, 6-5 Big Sky).
Trailing 41-34 heading into halftime, the Lumberjacks again did themselves no favors by watching the Hornets jump out to a 12-2 run over the first three minutes of the second half. Now trailing by 17 at 53-36, the Lumberjacks were forced to play catch-up throughout the rest of the evening.
“Right now it’s three straight road games where we haven’t been able to take care of the basketball,” said head coach Jack Murphy. “There are a lot of good coaches in this league and obviously they scout us and they see that.”
Northern Arizona committed 20 turnovers, leading to 32 of Sacramento State’s 87 points. The Lumberjacks had little issue scoring themselves, hitting 53 percent of their shots from the field, but did struggle at the line after hitting just 22 of their staggering 35 attempts.
Junior Aaseem Dixon led the way with 14 points and junior Gaellan Bewernick added 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting. The night also produced another struggle for senior Max Jacobsen, who failed to score for the first time since Jan. 19, 2013, against Idaho State. Jacobsen played just nine minutes, tallying one rebound and one assist.
After play concluded Thursday in the Big Sky, Northern Arizona stands one game out of second place and one game ahead of five teams spanning seventh through 10th.
“We are as close to being the second seed as we are to being out of the tournament altogether,” Murphy said. “So we are going to have to put it together and get the ship righted very quickly.”