OGDEN -- Quinton Upshur missed a running seven-footer with seconds left in what was the last gasp of an enormous Northern Arizona run, and the Northern Colorado Bears grabbed a 62-60 win in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament.
Northern Colorado led by 20 points with nine minutes left in the game, but Aseem Dixon led the Lumberjacks on a 14-0 run to cut the margin to 60-58 with 2:12 remaining in the game. Dixon, who shot 6-of-10 from deep, hit several big shots to key the run just when it seemed it was time to close the books on NAU.
"We dictated defensively for the first 30 minutes, then started hoping shots wouldn't go in," said Northern Colorado head coach B.J. Hill. "I'm disappointed with that, but overall we played better than we have recently."
Tevin Svihovec paced the Bears in the first half, scoring 14 points, grabbing three rebounds, and dishing three assists to help Northern Colorado to a big lead.
Defensive and shooting struggles from Big Sky newcomer of the year Upshur led NAU coach Jack Murphy to play Chris Miller more extensively than ever. "We stuck with Miller and he played well for us." Upshur finished with two points on 1-of-7 shooting, including missing the open final look.
Derrick Barden had a strong second half for Northern Colorado, finishing with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting to lead the Bears. Tate Unruh added 12 points on a 3-of-5 performance from behind the arc.
Dixon finished with 20 points for the Lumberjacks, who fell to 15-17 to finish the 2013-14 campaign. Max Jacobsen was big in the post for NAU, scoring 18 points including five-straight to finish the big 14-0 run.
Northern Colorado improved to 18-12 and as the six-seed, the lowest-remaining seed, will play tournament host Weber State on Friday night. North Dakota will now face the winner of the night-cap between Montana and Portland State.