ISU men's basketball

Idaho State’s Andre Hatchett (15) goes up strong for the shot over Northern Arizona’s Max Jacobsen (33) during a game Thursday night in Reed Gym.

There’s no positive spin to fabricate.

Idaho State got beat on its home floor. And it could spell dire consequences for the Bengals’ postseason hopes.

Northern Arizona pounded it inside, Quinton Upshur rained in eight 3-pointers and the Lumberjacks defeated ISU 66-65 with 1,585 in attendance Thursday in Reed Gym.

In a pivotal game for the Big Sky standings, Idaho State (10-16) drops to 7-10 in the conference, a full two games behind the coveted seventh spot that is the cutoff for the conference tournament.

The Bengals were in a must-win situation, and now all room for error has been eliminated.

After the game, Idaho State junior forward Jeffrey Solarin said the Bengal locker room was pure silence.

“We’re at a loss for words right now,” he said. “We don’t know what to think.”

Northern Arizona led by 13 points with 7 minutes and 46 seconds left in the second half. Upshur had just buried another 3 and the Lumberjacks (12-16, 9-8 Big Sky) had their largest lead of the game.

Upshur finished with a career-high eight 3-pointers. The junior was 8 for 11 from the perimeter and scored a game-high 28 points.

Idaho State, though, with its postseason hopes on the brink, stormed back. In a two-minute and two-second time span, the Bengals ripped off 10 straight points. Ayibakuro Preh had a layup at the rim, Chris Hansen hit a 3, Andre Hatchett sunk a jumper and Tomas Sanchez pulled up for a transition 3-pointer that rose the Bengal fans from their seats.

But Northern Arizona would not fade. The Lumberjacks had Upshur’s outside shooting and senior forward Max Jacobsen took care of the post scoring. Jacobsen hit 10 of his 16 field-goal attempts for 20 points and eight rebounds. At the half, Jacobsen and Upshur accounted for all 31 of NAU’s points.

Four of Jacobsen’s boards came on the offensive end. Northern Arizona collected 16 of those and they led to 20 second-chance points.

“We just weren’t playing with enough intensity,” Solarin said. “We weren’t getting enough stops. We turned up our intensity and we started getting stops, and we started getting back into the game. We’ve just got to find some way to keep that up for two halves and not the last 10 minutes.”

Upshur’s 3s, along with Jacobsen’s post scoring, helped the Lumberjacks offset Idaho State’s free-throw advantage. The Bengals converted 21 of 25 shots from the foul line and the Lumberjacks missed 8 of their 14 attempts.

“We got to the foul line enough and made enough free throws,” said Idaho State second-year head coach Bill Evans. “They just beat us up on the glass.”

Idaho State lived from the foul line. Tomas Sanchez, who scored a team-high 17 points, made 7 of 8 free throws. Of Hatchett’s 13 points, five came from the line, and Chris Hansen had four of his 12 total points from the line.

But Idaho State did not reach the charity stripe when it mattered most. With the scored tied at 65, Hansen drove into the lane, but Northern Arizona freshman Kris Yanku stripped Hansen and was immediately fouled. Yanku sunk the front end of a one-and-one to put the ’Jacks up 66-65 with 6.1 ticks left.

Off the miss on the second free throw, Idaho State did not have a timeout and Hatchett raced down the floor. He passed to Sanchez, but the senior point guard could not shake a defender as the buzzer sounded. Sanchez fell to the floor while heaving up a desperation 3.

“When the game was tied, we drove it and Chris attacked the basket,” Evans said. “We were looking for a call and didn’t get one.”

Evans, however, was not making excuses.

“We got beat. They beat us,” he said. “They came in here and beat us — flat out.”

Now with one home game left this season the Bengals must defeat Sacramento State on Saturday in Reed Gym.

“It all starts tomorrow in our preparation for Sac State,” Solarin said. “It will start in practice. We’ve got to put this one behind us.”

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