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Men's Basketball Hits The Road Against The Lumberjacks

Men's Basketball Hits The Road Against The Lumberjacks

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (Nov. 18, 2022) – It's the first official road trip of the season as the UC Santa Barbara Men's Basketball team makes the trip to Flagstaff, Arizona to take on the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. This is the first time these teams have faced each other since 1981. 

The Gauchos made the trip up the coast to Santa Cruz, California as they played a neutral site contest against the Fresno State Tigers. Through the first half of the game, it was a close score as UC Santa Barbara was only up by two. Despite the halftime score, the Gauchos made a push in the second half to ultimately win 61-54 over the Tigers. 

Northern Arizona had a tough non-conference slate to start the season as they currently have a 1-3 record. The Lumberjacks have faced Michigan State, Arizona State and Utah Valley for their first three games before grabbing a win over Benedictine Mesa.

It'll be a battle in the paint between the Gauchos' Andre Kelly and the Lumberjacks' Carson Towt. Despite playing two more games over UC Santa Barbara, Towt is currently third in the NCAA for total rebounds with 43 while sitting in fifth in offensive rebounds per game with 5.25.

Sophomore guard Liam Lloyd is the points leader for the Lumberjacks. He's started in all four games for NAU, currently earning 49 points. This is good enough to average 12.25 per game.

Junior Jalen Cone is close behind Lloyd in total points with 45. However, Cone is the team's leader in three-point field goals. He has made nine shots while shooting 32 percent from behind the arc in this early part of the season. He comes off an All-Big Sky Third Team season as a sophomore.

In their most recent game against Benedictine Mesa, there were six Lumberjacks to register double-digit points. This is the first time Northern Arizona had this many players put up those numbers since 2009.

Head Coach Shane Burcar is in fourth season with the Lumberjacks. He currently boasts a 32-56 record over his time at the helm of this program.

Coach Burcar has taken advantage of the transfer portal during the off season. He brings in Xavier Fuller, a transfer from South Dakota, and Lloyd, who comes from Grand Canyon. Along with those two, Burcar also grabbed Trent McLaughlin, who played at Central Connecticut State.

There are only two freshmen on this roster, and one of them is a key offensive contributor. Oakland Fort, the Arizona Republic's Player of the Year, is fourth on the team in points with 30 in just four games. 

The Gauchos will hit the court in Flagstaff at 6 p.m. MST (5 p.m. PST). A live stream is available through ESPN+ with audio available through Live stats will also be provided by the Lumberjacks.