The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks basketball team continues to ride an incredible run through the CIT as Friday night they knocked off Kent State from Flagstaff, 74-73.
The ‘Jacks have thrived when it’s mattered most. Starting with a come from behind win at GCU in round one, surrendering a early lead vs Sacramento State but making plays when it matter most in round two. But in the quarters of the CIT Friday night, NAU found themselves down five with 30 seconds left before forcing overtime. Then were down as much as six in the overtime and didn’t take the lead until the game winning shot by senior Quinton Upshur to seal the one point win.
“I haven’t been a part of many like that where you’re down by five with 30 seconds and come back. That was pretty special,” said NAU head coach Jack Murphy. “They have had fight and a never give up attitude all season and that’s what I love about this team. Tonight was electric. To see this many fans cheering us on at home was a great feeling. I knew something special was in the air, and I hope we can carry this momentum over to next week.”
Guard Kris Yanku and Aaseem Dixon came to play leading the team in scoring with 28 and 24 points respectively. Jordyn Martin continues to take his game to another level this post season on both ends of the floor. He recorded his second career double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds in the win.
3,653 people filed into the Dome and helped will the ‘Jacks to the semi-finals.
“We cannot thank the crowd enough for their support tonight,” mentioned Aaseem Dixon. “Coach (Murphy) told us to trust each other and we would be able to pull this out and that’s exactly what we did.”
Defense was what set the tone early for NAU as they held Kent State to just nine points in the first nine minutes and scoreless for a stretch of 4:40 in the first half. The game would have great energy as it went back and forth with nine ties and nine lead changes through the second half.
With the win, NAU now enhances their school record for wins in a season with 22. To think they never had a post season win at the division I level until their win at GCU and now have three in less than two weeks. Their semi-final opponent is still yet to be determined but will be back in action next week.