Northern Arizona (4-7) at BYU (8-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 27, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Marriott Center (20,900) -- Provo, Utah. Television: BYUtv. Home Record: NAU 2-2, BYU 6-0. Away Record: NAU 1-4, BYU 1-2. Neutral Record: NAU 1-1, BYU 1-2. Conference Record: NAU 1-1, BYU 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAMES NOTES: The BYU Cougars will look to bounce back from a 15-point road loss when they host the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at the Marriott Center on Thursday.
The Lumberjacks have played poorly on the road this season. Northern Arizona is 1-4 in road contests after being handed a 98-51 beating by Colorado in Boulder in its last time out. That loss dropped the Lumberjacks to 4-7 overall and was the second straight loss and third in the last four games. Next up Northern Arizona begins a two-game homestand in Big Sky play against Sacramento State.
Aiding the Cougars' efforts on Thursday will be the success BYU has had at home with the team having a 6-0 mark at the Marriott Center. That didn't do much to help BYU last time out when it had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 79-64 loss at Baylor. BYU is still a solid 8-4 on the year and will play Virginia Tech on Saturday before getting into conference play.
These teams met for just the second time last season when BYU routed the Lumberjacks on the road 87-52. The win evened the all-time series at 1-1.
Not a whole lot went right for Northern Arizona against Colorado. The Lumberjacks shot at just a 31.3 percent clip, while allowing the Buffaloes to nail 66.7 percent of their field goal attempts. DeWayne Russell had a team-high 15 points in the losing effort for NAU.
Northern Arizona has been getting lit up for big point totals regularly this year. The Lumberjacks give up 77.6 points per game on 49.9 percent shooting, including seven games where they have allowed at least 80 points. The Lumberjacks also suffer from a sizable disadvantage on the boards (-5.4), while scoring 67.0 points per game. DeWayne Russell (16.4 ppg) and Gabe Rogers (15.1 ppg) are the top scoring options and the only players to be averaging in double figures. Rogers has done so without much efficiency has he shoots at just a 31.8 percent clip.
Shooting from beyond the arc was the key in BYU's contest with Baylor and unfortunately for the Cougars the Bears had the edge. Baylor outscored BYU 27-6 from 3-point range and also hit on 45.0 percent of their shots overall to just 38.7 percent from the Cougars. The loss came despite a monster effort from Brandon Davies (26 points, 17 rebounds).
BYU has been scoring at a much better rate than Northern Arizona (76.0 ppg) while netting 44.8 percent of its shots from the field, which ranks in the upper half of teams in the country. Thanks in large part to Davies the team also rebounds well (39.7 ppg), while holding a +5.9 scoring margin. The Cougars also hand out the 20th-most assists (16.8 pg) in the country. Davies (19.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg) is a real offensive force on the inside and also cleans the glass at a high rate. He has three double-doubles this year and has scored in double figures in every game. Tyler Haws (19.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) is another prolific scorer for the Cougars.
Davies and Haws give the Cougars far too much offensive firepower and strength in the frontcourt for Northern Arizona to contend with.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 88, Northern Arizona 70
12/27 10:34:32 ET