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Northern Arizona pulls past Montana State with late push, 85-80

Madison Jackson drives past NAU’s Taylor Feldman.
Posted at 5:28 PM, Jan 07, 2023

(Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)

BOZEMAN — Montana State held a two-point lead following a pair of Taylor Janssen free throws with 6 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the game, but Northern Arizona answered rattling off a 7-0 run, taking a five-point advantage as MSU went scoreless for over three minutes. NAU didn’t relinquish its lead the rest of the contest, en route to an 85-80 win over the Bobcats on Saturday afternoon in Worthington Arena.

With the win, Northern Arizona snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Bobcats.

“Every single night is going to be a battle,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “NAU leads the Big Sky in scoring, and they really like to run and push it, and we didn’t do a good enough job in transition to stop them.”

The Lumberjacks outscored the Bobcats 20-2 in fastbreak points.

Midway through the third quarter Montana State seemed poised to pull away from Northern Arizona owning an eight-point lead. The Lumberjacks responded with an 8-0 run sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers, setting up a battle down the stretch between the two rivals who last saw each other in the Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game, last March.

“We have not been good in the third quarter all season,” Binford said. “We have got to get that figured out.”

Montana State (9-7, 2-2) used a big second quarter outscoring Northern Arizona (9-8, 3-1) by nine points to hold a 45-40 lead at intermission. MSU shot 43.8% in the opening half, including a seven-of-12 effort from long distance, and converting all ten free throw attempts.

Darian White and Lexi Deden paced the Bobcats with 14 points, apiece, while Kola Bad Bear 12 and Janssen 11, also hit double-digits.

MSU held a 42-39 advantage under the boards as Bad Bear pulled down eight rebounds to guide the Bobcats.

Regan Schenck led five NAU players in double-figures with a game-high 16 points. The senior point-guard also added ten assists and seven rebounds.

Montana State plays at Idaho State next Thursday night in Pocatello.