Northern Arizona is on to the Final Four (of the CIT) after their 74-73 OT victory Friday night victory over Kent State.
It was a wild affair, as NAU led for much of the way, including a 56-47 lead with a little over five minutes to play. An 11-0 run by Kent State then gave them the lead at 58-56 lead with 3:16 left to play. Eventually, a Kris Yanku free throw tied the game at 61, and the game went into overtime after a late Len Springs block.
In overtime, it looked like NAU's season was going to be ending, as the Golden Flashes took a 73-68 lead with just 41 seconds left. Then, Kris Yanku hit a pair of free throws, and Aaseem Dixon hit a layup following a Jordyn Martin steal. With 12 seconds left, it was Quinton Upshur scoring the game-winning layup to send the Jacks into the CIT semifinals.
There were no shortage of impressive performances for the Jacks. Martin had his second straight huge game, finishing with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Len Springs had 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Dixon had 16 points and 6 rebounds, while Yanku finished with 19 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
NAU will take on the winner of the NJIT/Canisius game on Tuesday night. The Jacks are now 22-14 on the year, ending things on a high note! Hopefully the run will continue!
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This has been a fun run for Lumberjack fans. Just a week and a half ago NAU was 0-4 all time in post season tournaments. Last Friday's crowd reminded me of when Howland was coaching in Flagstaff. A few Big Sky conference tourney games @ the Skydome long ago, the 2011 Big Sky Conference quarterfinal games vs. MSU in Rolle Activity Center and one or two Howland era games vs. Weber State were the only games I can remember like this. I was impressed to see the community and students show up and be loud. NJIT is a good story and will be no pushover on Tuesday night. I'd have to guess that the winner of UT-Martin and Evansville will most likely host the final as I can't see east coast/midwest schools being too keen on playing the championship game @ 7,000 ft elevation. Then again....I don't know how the decision is made as to who hosts each game? Is it all based on the highest bid? I can't drive up on Tuesday night but I'll be there on Thursday if they host. Go Jacks! - MTJackReplyDelete