Idaho State (8-16) at Northern Arizona (5-20)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday February 11th, 8:35 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rolle Activity Center (1,080) -- Flagstaff, Arizona. Television: NAU-TV, Big Sky TV. Home Record: ISU 5-6, NAU 4-7. Away Record: ISU 3-10, NAU 1-10. Neutral Record: ISU 0-0, NAU 0-3. Conference Record: ISU 6-6, NAU 1-12. Series Record: Idaho State leads, 49-40.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks will try to end their 12-game losing streak as they host the Idaho State Bengals at the Rolle Activity Center for Big Sky Conference action.
This will be the 90th meeting in history and second this season between NAU and Idaho State. The Bengals hold a 49-40 lead in the rivalry after their 78-62 victory on Jan. 21st last month. Idaho State shot a net scorching 51.9 percent from the floor to push past the Lumberjacks in the first bout.
Idaho State lost its second game in a row on Thursday night when it fell 67-54 to the Portland State Vikings. The loss dropped the Bengals overall record to 8-16 and their Big Sky mark to 6-6, which puts them in a three-way tie for third place. Although they improved from their 25.5 percent shooting performance they submitted on Monday against Montana, the Bengals 37 percent shooting from the floor against Portland State was less than impressive. The offensive struggles are nothing unexpected, as Idaho State is ranked second to last in the league in scoring offense with an average of 64.7 ppg. Opponents have averaged 70.5 ppg against the Bengals.
Idaho State is led by Chase Grabau, who averages 13.3 points, 3.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field. Kenny McGowen and Melvin Morgan both carry scoring averages in double figures as well. Abner Moreira has been stepping up his play lately. The senior forward contributed 14 points and seven rebounds on Feb. 2nd against Montana State before adding a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds on Thursday against Portland State.
After a slow start, a mid-season coaching change, and a glimmer of hope, Northern Arizona has fallen into a deep hole. The Lumberjacks lost their 12th straight game on Thursday as they were bested 67-49 by the Weber State Wildcats. The Lumberjacks were beat 40-31 in the rebounding battle and held to 31 percent shooting by the Wildcats. The loss made NAU 5-20 overall and 1-12 in league action. Opponents have had a field day against the Lumberjacks, as they are allowing their competition to shoot a league worst 49.4 percent from the field to score 70.5 ppg.
Freshman guard James Douglas has stepped up his play despite his team's struggles. The rookie scored in double figures in five straight games before being held to nine points by Weber State. Ephraim Ekanem had a few strong performances as he averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 boards in the two games preceding the matchup with Weber State. Like the rest of his teammates, Ekanem was shutdown by the Wildcats. Stallon Saldivar is the floor general for the team and leads the squad with 5.0 apg.
NAU has yet to win a game in 2012 while Idaho State has been very competitive. The Bengals are the only team in the league to have a win over Weber State at this point. The Lumberjacks could not match up with Idaho State in their initial meeting this season and there is no reason to believe that will change tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Idaho State 73, Northern Arizona 65
02/11 10:39:49 ET