NAU Takes Third With 78-69 Win Over VMI

NAU Takes Third With 78-69 Win Over VMI

November 18, 2023

PHOENIX — The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks secured third place in the inaugural Arizona Tip-Off Desert Division with a 78-69 victory over the VMI Keydets Saturday afternoon at Diamond Desert Arena.

Leading 38-33 at the break, NAU (2-3) used a 13-2 scoring stretch in the middle of the second half that opened its lead up to 59-46 and led comfortably the remainder of the contest.

Trenton McLaughin dropped 21 points on 7-14 from the floor, his second consecutive day as the Lumberjacks lead in scoring. McLaughlin was joined by Jayden Jackson (18), Oakland Fort (13) and Carson Basham (13) in double figures.

Basham added 10 rebounds – including three on the offensive end – earning the second double-double of the inaugural Arizona Tip-Off. NAU won points off turnovers, second chance points and fastbreak points.

The Keydets were led by 20 points from Tyran Cook on 8-14 shooting. Cook was joined in double figures by Koree Cotton (13) and Stephen Olowoniyi (12). After scoring 13 points in Friday’s opening round, Taeshaud Jackson added eight points while snatching 14 rebounds – five offensive – and two steals in 23 minutes.

The Keydets jumped out to a hot start and used multiple five-point runs in the first five minutes of the contest, taking a 18-12 lead at 9:22 left in the opening half. NAU raced back, going on an 11-0 run midway through the first half, taking a 23-18 advantage. 

From that point until the end of the first half, the contest was not separated by more than five and NAU did not allow VMI a lead. The Lumberjacks grabbed the momentum midway through the second half with their 13-2 scoring stretch and sealed the victory.

The contest concludes the Arizona Tip-Off for both squads. Purdue Fort Wayne takes on South Dakota in the Desert Division Championship this afternoon at 2:30 p.m.. for the Desert Division Championship

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