Weber State and Northern Arizona entered Saturday evening’s men’s basketball contest hobbled.
WSU junior forward Kham Davis missed his second straight game with a knee injury. NAU senior forward Chris Bowling was out with a leg injury.
Weber senior guard Jerrick Harding and NAU senior forward Brooks DeBisschop, each nursing ankles badly sprained in previous games, both gave it a go. DeBisschop’s injury was apparent, with bruising extending up toward his calf; Harding’s was concealed by tights and socks.
The Lumberjacks needed every minute DeBisschop gave them. He scored 18 points and shot 8 of 8 from the field, and NAU erased a late Weber State lead to win 72-64 at Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff, Arizona.
“The second half, we came out and fought like crazy and gave ourselves an opportunity, and I just thought we couldn’t get a break,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said. “I thought the guys did a good job of pushing through for a while and then all of a sudden it was kind of like we hit a wall.”
The win broke Weber’s seven-game win streak over NAU and a 10-game streak in Flagstaff as the Lumberjacks played the Wildcats as favorites for the first time since 2008. WSU has now won 20 of the last 23 games in the series.
Weber State trailed for more than 34 minutes in the contest. Senior guard Cody John, playing all 40 minutes, canned his last field goal with 6:14 left on a corner 3-pointer that gave WSU a 57-54 lead, only its second lead of the game.
John assisted a Michal Kozak dunk a minute later for a 59-56 lead but, from there, WSU couldn’t get defensive stops or put the ball in the hoop. NAU used a 12-4 run to go up 68-63 before the game-ending free-throw game led to the final margin.
John finished with 24 points to lead Weber State (5-9, 1-2 Big Sky). Kozak played a third straight strong game, totaling 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a block.
Freshmen guards KJ Cunningham and Judah Jordan each finished with seven points, with Cunningham dishing five assists in 32 minutes and Jordan grabbing five steals in 17 minutes.
Cam Satterwhite scored 15 points for NAU (7-5, 1-2) and Nik Mains added 13. The Lumberjacks shot 9 of 16 from the 3-point line, outshooting an 8-of-26 performance from Weber State.
That included a 5-of-6 start from deep that, when Ted McCree knocked in a 3 with 7:45 left in the first half, gave NAU its biggest lead of the game at 26-14.
WSU answered with a 10-2 run that helped cut the deficit to 36-30 at halftime, then started the second half on a 7-0 run to go up 37-36 on a Kozak 3.
There were four ties and four lead changes in the second half, leading to the final six-minute stretch.
Quick guard Harding didn’t fare as well as deliberate-moving big Debisschop with his ankle injury, slowed on his way to six points on 3-of-8 shooting in 26 minutes. After sitting for a time, Harding checked in after John’s 3 put Weber up 57-54, then checked out four minutes later after committing two bad-pass turnovers with his team trailing 68-63.
“Jerrick was not even close to himself tonight. He just couldn’t move,” Rahe said. “It wasn’t his fault ... he tried hard but was a shell of himself, how he was moving. It was hard on him.”
Weber State regroups for a home game against Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9.