Pregame report - NAU Lumber Jacks

The Titans (3-7, 0-2) play their final non-conference game of the season in Flagstaff before returning to Big West Conference play with a 3-game local road trip to Irvine, Long Beach and Riverside. Fullerton lost its two opening Big West games by a total of three points with both games being decided at the buzzer.

ABOUT THE LUMBERJACKS: Northern Arizona (6-4) snapped a 3-game losing streak on Friday night with a 64-46 win over visiting Montana Tech. NAU is 3-0 at home this year (including a 79-57 win over CSF conqueror Cal Poly SLO) and 3-4 on the road. Veteran Ryan McDade leads the team in scoring at 11.8 ppg and rebounding at 7.0 rpg. NAU is shooting only 22 per cent from 3-point range and no one on the team is above 31 per cent. But NAU is holding opponents to 38 per cent shooting from the floor. Coach Mike Adras is 41-29 in his third year. CSF leads the all-time series with the ‘Jacks, 4-2, but NAU posted a 75-59 victory in the last meeting in Titan Gym on Dec. 30, 2000. Fullerton is 1-1 in Flagstaff, winning in the 1979-80 season in ovetime and losing two years later.

Game 11: Northern Arizona Jacks
Saturday, December 29, 2001 @ J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome

Rankings CollegeRPI Sagarin
Cal State Fullerton (3-7) 274 278
Northern Arizona (6-4) 123 107

ESPN Rankings

The Line from Las Vegas

  • N/A (TitanCentral guess: NAU by 12)

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TitanCentral.com's Key's to Winning: How do the Titans respond after a couple tough losses to open Big West play? If the Titans win those two games they could treat this game as a tune-up prior to UCI and Long Beach State. But now the Titans need confidence and another loss may send them into a tailspin and who knows when they would recover. The Lumberjacks appear to have the talent of a mid-level Big West team so this game is winnable despite what the computer rankings say.

The good news is Fullerton has had some time off to put the losses behind them, too bad I can't. I admire coach Daniels for apologizing to the Titan faithful at the latest Chalk Talk for the performance against Cal Poly and now we need the same apology from a certain clock operator in Titan gym.

How a ball can hit two players, roll around on the floor, fall into the hands of a Gaucho who then bends over, and then takes a full windup, jumpshot for a three pointer, all in 1.2 seconds is beyond me. And the ball was nearly in the basket when the horn sounded?! My guess is the person panicked, realized he forgot to start the clock and then, while the shot was taken pushed the button or perhaps he was a Gaucho at heart. Just a horrendous job.

Now that I got that off my chest, how do we win? We're on the road so it should be tough getting calls -- but the refs can't be any worse than those at Titan gym, so this point is a wash. Keep crashing the boards and if we have 11 turnovers or less like we had against UCSB, we win going away. This is a big game, confidence-wise, so they need to continue to play hard, play aggressively and play smart. Winning is in their future but they just need to get over that hump.