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Northern Arizona Idaho State Basketball

Northern Arizona’s Torry Johnson (0) drives into the lane during play against Idaho State at the Walkup Skydome earlier this season.

Losing its sixth straight game, the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks pushed the North Dakota Fighting Hawks to overtime thanks to a steal and dunk by Chris Bowling before falling 86-81 Saturday in Grand Forks.

Hitting 80 percent from the field in the second half, the Lumberjacks (4-23, 1-13 Big Sky) scored 43 points in order to force the extra five minutes against the Fighting Hawks (10-17, 5-10).

Torry Johnson scored 18 of his career-high 33 points in the second half, while Bowling bounced back from an extended cold shooting streak to add 17 points, 11 in the second half.

The duo led Northern Arizona back from an eight-point deficit with 10:15 left in the game, scoring 20 of the team's final 23 points in regulation. Answering a 3-pointer by North Dakota's Marlon Stewart, one of 15 3s by the Fighting Hawks, Bowling began Northern Arizona's barrage of 3s.

Hitting a 3 with 9:49 on the clock, Bowling added another two in a five-minute span while Johnson added one himself.

North Dakota kept its distance from Northern Arizona until a three-point play by Karl Harris and another 3 by Johnson in the span of 46 seconds tied the score at 64.

The Fighting Hawks responded to score five straight, all by Geno Crandall, who led North Dakota with 28 points. But yet another 3 by Johnson made it a one-possession game.

Trapping North Dakota's Billy Brown with a full-court press on the ensuing inbounds pass after a timeout, Northern Arizona forced a pass right into the hands of Bowling, who immediately went up for a dunk to tie the game at 69 with 25 seconds left.

Crandall missed a jumper on the other end, with Northern Arizona's Isaiah Thomas blocking a last-ditch effort by Kienan Walter.

After the teams played back and forth and tied three times in the opening 2:31 of overtime, North Dakota put together a 10-1 run to close out the victory. Conner Avants scored eight straight for North Dakota, including a pair of three-point plays started by layups inside, with Northern Arizona countering with a lone layup.

Johnson added four points in the final 11 seconds, but the Fighting Hawks hit all eight of their overtime free throws. Johnson finished 10 of 14 from the field and 8 of 9 at the line to reach his 33 points while Bowling connected on 6 of 11 from the field, including 5 of 8 from 3. After hitting just 5 of 45 in his previous six games, Bowling performance served as a breakout from his slump.

Northern Arizona returns home for the final time this season, facing Sacramento State at 6:30 p.m. before capping off the home schedule with Portland State on Saturday at 6 p.m.


Sports Reporter

Cody Bashore serves as the beat writer for Northern Arizona University basketball and football in addition to covering high school sports around Flagstaff for the Arizona Daily Sun.

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