FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Montana State men's basketball team lost its third straight game — and fourth in its past five games — Saturday, losing a second-half lead to fall 76-71 at Northern Arizona.
The Bobcats led by as many as 12 points in the first half and were up 41-36 at halftime, but Northern Arizona used an 11-0 run to take a 51-48 lead at the 12:50 mark of the second half and never looked back. The Lumberjacks ultimately pushed the run to 25-5, building their largest lead of the game at 65-53 with five minutes to play.
Montana State got back within 71-67 with a minute to go, but NAU's Trenton McLaughlin hit a big 3-pointer and the Jacks secured the win.
McLaughlin made four 3s in the game and finished with a game-high 24 points. Carson Basham had a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds for Northern Arizona, and Liam Lloyd added 10 points, eight boards and four assists.
Brandon Walker scored 22 points to lead Montana State, which also got 21 points and 11 rebounds from Robert Ford III. Brian Goracke recorded a double-double, as well, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. But the Bobcats shot just 40% from the floor for the game and 31.4% in the second half, including a 2-for-10 mark from 3-point range.
Montana State (11-14 overall, 6-6 Big Sky) next plays at Montana for the second Cat-Griz game of the season. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Dahlberg Arena in Missoula.
Northern Arizona, which had lost its previous four games, including a 94-66 drubbing to Montana on Thursday, improved to 11-14 overall (4-7 Big Sky) with the win. The Jacks are on the road against Sacramento State and Portland State next week.