Fighting back from a 19-point first-half deficit, the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (0-5) came up short in their pursuit of their first win of the year in their first game at the Continental Las Vegas Invitational against the Hampton Pirates (2-4).
Torry Johnson came up with another strong individual offensive performance, scoring a game-high 24 points while playing 39 minutes in the 76-66 loss Thursday. The 20-plus-point performance was the second in as many games for Johnson, while JoJo Anderson recorded double-digits for the third straight game with 15 points.
Down 29-10 with 6:57 left in the first half, Northern Arizona cut it to 37-25 at the break before Hampton rolled it back up to 51-33 a little less than seven minutes into the second half.
Four minutes later, the Lumberjacks made their push with an 11-1 run to bring the score to 62-57. Starting with a technical free throw by Anderson, Northern Arizona hit 6 of 9 from the line during its run along with a 3-pointer by Johnson and a jumper by Anderson.
However, five points is as close as Northern Arizona would get as Hampton continued to hit its free throws down the stretch, finishing 14 of 19 in the second half. Johnson put the Lumberjacks down 68-62 with a free throw, but the Pirates answered as Kalin Fisher hit his only 3-pointer of the game.
Hampton finished the game hitting just 2 of its final 11 shots from the field, but still managed to finish at 49.1 percent for the game, with 42 points in the paint, and shot 15 for 27 in the first half to open up its big lead.
Brooks DeBisschop led Northern Arizona with nine rebounds, as the Lumberjacks lost the battle of the boards 42-32. After committing 83 turnovers in their first four games combined, the Lumberjacks put out their lowest total with 12 while forcing 15 from the Pirates.
Falling by double digits in all five games this season, Thursday ended up as Northern Arizona's closest contest of the year, and easily its closest Division I performance after losses to Arizona, Arizona State and Kansas State.
Northern Arizona remains in Las Vegas to face either Rider or UC Irvine on Friday.