TEMPE, AZ — In the media notes for the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks,
there’s an item that points out when guard Stallon Saldivar was in 6th
grade in Salt Lake City, he played on a team coached by NBA legend John
Stockton and sharpshooter Jeff Hornacek.
Apparently whatever they taught him worked.
Saldivar had a career-high 24 points and six three-pointers, including
dagger with 0.6 seconds left to give NAU a 69-68 win over Arizona State
in front of 4,738 fans at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Sun Devils led for most of the game, but Trent Lockett missed a
chance to ice it at the free throw line, missing one of two with :18 left
and ASU up by two.
NAU stayed patient, and got the ball into Saldivar’s hands with a few
ticks left on the clock.
“He (Carrick Felix) was running after me, and my instant reaction was
just a one-dribble pull up,” Saldivar said after the game. “We were down
two, so I was trying to get closer but then I looked up at the clock and
saw the time so I just kind of threw it up there”
Saldivar never had made more than two three-pointers in a single game
in his NAU career, and had just 7 three-pointers all season long, but
nearly doubled that total on Saturday.
The junior guard knew pretty early on that it was going to be a good
shooting day. “Once I made that first one, it’s kind of a confidence
thing,” he said. “When you get that first one to hit nothing but net, for
any shooter really it’s a confidence thing, and I just felt it today.”
This was the 137th time the two teams have met on the basketball floor,
and NAU’s 59th win. The last time the ‘Jacks left Tempe with a win was
November 13, 2006, which was Herb Sendek’s first game as ASU’s head
Sendek tipped his cap to NAU’s backcourt following the game. “I thought
the Northern Arizona guards really dominated the basketball game, we
had a difficult time defending them,” Sendek said.
Saldivar and freshman guard James Douglas combined for 42 points and
10 assists (9 by Saldivar) on 14-of-23 shooting from the field. Durell
Norman also chipped in with a career-high 16 points for NAU, who are
now 2-0 since longtime coach Mike Adras abruptly resigned his post and
was replaced by assistant Dave Brown.
“It’s been different, it’s been a hell of a week for us,” Saldivar said. “We
just came together. I’m just proud of my teammates.”
With the win, NAU improves to 4-7 on the season while ASU falls to 4-6.
The Sun Devils will host Southern Mississippi on Monday night in Tempe.
Almost wire-to-wire: NAU had the lead on just three occasions
in the game for a total of 1 minute, 15.6 seconds.
Free throw woes: ASU didn’t get to the line much (only 13
attempts) and shot just 46.2% when they did get there. By contrast, the
shot 56.3% from the field for the game.
A rare occurrence: Under Sendek, the Sun Devils had been 44-
6 when they shot 50% or better from the field.
Creekmur’s resurgence: Sophomore wing Chanse Creekmur
hadn’t been shooting the ball very well from behind the arc for much of
the early season, but that’s turned around recently. On Saturday, the
Marshalltown, Iowa product hit 5-of-8 from three-point range, and he’s
7-of-11 in his last two games, after hitting only 4 of his first 21 long-