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Eastern Washington University Basketball

Eastern Washington blows late lead in 78-71 loss to Northern Arizona

Eastern Washington forward Ethan Price dribbles against Northern Arizona on Thursday in Flagstaff, Ariz.  (Courtesy of EWU Athletics)

From staff reports

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Eastern Washington surrendered a seven-point lead with 3 minutes to play, losing 78-71 to Northern Arizona in a Big Sky men’s basketball game Thursday at Walkup Skydome.

The Lumberjacks (13-15, 6-8 Big Sky) ended the game on a 14-0 run as the Eagles committed four turnovers and missed two shots in the final 3 minutes.

The loss was Eastern’s second in a row, its first two-game losing streak since late November. The Eagles (17-10, 11-3) are still in first place in the Big Sky, but their lead over Northern Colorado (17-10, 10-4) – their opponent on Saturday in Greeley – narrowed to one game.

Junior Casey Jones led Eastern with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, but he fouled out with 6 minutes to go when he was called for two fouls – including one technical – on a single play.

Despite his absence, the Eagles pushed their lead to 71-64 on an Ethan Price 3-pointer with 3:05 left. But it was all NAU after that.

Junior Carson Basham finished with 21 points and made 9 of 13 shots from the field to lead the Lumberjacks. Sophomore guard Oakland Fort added 19 points while making 6 of 7 shots.

Price, a junior, had 12 points for the Eagles, leaving him five shy of 1,000 in his career. Junior Cedric Coward also had 12 points; redshirt freshman LeJuan Watts and junior Dane Erikstrup each added 11 points.

NAU shot 49% from the field and made 17 of 19 free throws. Eastern went 12 for 19 at the line.

The victory was Northern Arizona’s first over Eastern in a regular-season game since March 4, 2017. The Lumberjacks beat the Eagles in the second round of last year’s Big Sky Tournament.