Junior Torry Johnson scored 20 points to lead the Northern Arizona men’s basketball team in an 80-58 loss at Big 12 member Kansas State on Monday night at the Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas.
The loss dropped the Jacks to 0-4 in their tough opening non-conference schedule that previously included games at Arizona and Arizona State. Kansas State improved to 4-0 with the victory.
Johnson connected on 5 of 7 shots from the field and made 10 of 13 free throws. Sophomore JoJo Anderson added 12 to round out NAU’s double-digit scorers.
Kansas State was paced by Barry Brown, who tallied 20 points while shooting 9 of 13 from the field.
Turnovers were an issue for the Lumberjacks throughout the contest as they committed 31 overall, just three shy of the program’s single-game record of 34 set in 1990-91 vs. Georgia State. NAU coughed it up 19 times in the first half alone and the Wildcats scored 38 points off those miscues for the game.
The Lumberjacks will look to get in the win column over the Thanksgiving holiday as they play a pair of games at the Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena beginning on Thanksgiving Day at noon vs. Hampton.
With a victory on Thursday, the Jacks would move on to face Thursday’s winner of the UC Irvine-Rider game on Friday at 8:30 p.m. With a loss, NAU would take on the loser of that game beginning at noon on Friday.
Redshirt senior Olivia Lucero's layup with 1.4 seconds left completed a 15-point fourth quarter comeback and secured NAU's first win of the season, 62-60 over Boise State in its final game of the Bank of Hawai'i Classic.
"This feels awesome; Boise State was picked to win the Mountain West and they have a lot of talent," said head coach Loree Payne, who picked up her first win at NAU (1-3). "They're tall and athletic. Rebounding wasn't one of our best areas of the game, and it's something we'll take a look at. We hit free throws down the stretch when it mattered. I'm proud of this team because this is a monumental win for them."
The Broncos, the defending Mountain West champions and a 2017 NCAA Tournament participant, hit the Lumberjacks hard out of halftime with a 12-0 run that snapped a 30-30 stalemate. The lead grew to as much as 15 with 7:47 remaining in the game before the Lumberjacks charged back.
NAU's captains – Lucero, redshirt senior Kenna McDavis and junior Kaleigh Paplow – put the team on their shoulders in the final period by scoring 20 of the Lumberjacks' 23 fourth-quarter points.
"(Boise State) kept giving us opportunities to get back in it, and we just had to take it," Payne said. "As a team, we turned it up a notch with intensity, discipline on defense and execution on offense. They were dialed in the second half of the fourth quarter, which was critical in our comeback. Looking at the numbers (Olivia, Kenna and Kaleigh) put up, they made huge plays at the end. That's what great players do."
By the time Lucero hit two free throws with 2:04 remaining to give NAU a 58-56 edge, the Lumberjacks had gone on a massive 16-0 run. The Broncos answered with four straight points to jump back in front, 62-60, just 60 seconds later. McDavis and Paplow both split a pair at the line to tie the game at 62 with 15.9 seconds left. Boise State missed a three on the next possession, which set up the game-winner.
Coming out of a timeout, Lucero got free off a screen from freshman Khiarica Rasheed and was the recipient of a McDavis feed before laying the ball in with 1.4 seconds. A last-second heave by the Broncos was off the mark, ending a whirlwind of a game.
Lucero led all players with 20 points and was an efficient 9 for 15 from the field. Paplow finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. McDavis struggled with her shot, but made two crucial threes in the fourth quarter to spearhead a nine-point effort to go with a team-high 12 boards.
The Lumberjacks' next game will be versus Antelope Valley on Monday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be played at Tuba City High School.
Placing three in the top 11 in their first season appearance on platform, the Northern Arizona divers concluded the Lumberjack Diving Invitational on a high note on Sunday.
Junior Tatiana Kurach posted the team's highest finish in sixth, giving her three top-seven finishes throughout the weekend invite, which featured seven other schools from the Pac-12, Mountain West and WAC.
"I don't think that they believe it, but the performances I saw on 1-meter, 3-meter and platform are exactly where I want to see them right now," said diving coach Nikki Huffman. "I see a lot of positives moving forward. I'm excited to see what they can do at the end of the year."
Kurach led the Lumberjacks for the third consecutive day, and in the process recorded a new career-best platform score of 215.25. She finished less than three and a half points out of fourth place.
Juniors Raquel Gonzales and Christina Torrente followed in 10th and 11th respectively, while junior Olivia Payne placed 17th.
The divers will not compete again until NAU's next dual meet at San Diego on Dec. 16. A select group of swimmers will travel to the Texas Invitational from Nov. 30-Dec. 2.