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After nearly 10 months without games, the visiting Northwest Nazarene men’s basketball returned in style with a 75-72 upset of Division I opponent Portland State on Saturday afternoon.

The win marks the second time in three seasons that NNU has defeated a Division I foe, as the Nighthawks knocked off the University of Idaho 77-73 in Boise on Nov. 23, 2018.

“The guys came out really focused against a great opponent,” said NNU head coach Paul Rush. “I wasn’t sure what kind of energy we’d start with after the long break since the last time we played, but we had put in the hard work and preparation to get back to competition and the guys made the most of it.”

Ezekiel Alley led the Nighthawks with a game-high 27 points, while Gabriel Murphy added 18 points, seven rebounds, and five blocked shots.

“PSU had a great big man, but Gabe did an amazing job both defensively and offensively,” said Rush. “He hit some big shots in both halves and really had a breakout game for us. Gabe is a tremendous young man and works extremely hard. He has earned his playing time and it’s fun to see his joy and see him have success.”

George Reidy also scored in double figures with 16 points and seven boards, while Kobe Terashima added eight assists in his NNU debut.

The Nighthawks started hot, scoring the first eight points of the game. The early lead grew to 15-5 on a Murphy layup with 14:55 to go in the half.

Portland State battled back, cutting the lead to just one, 20-19, with 8:33 to go. NNU countered with a 7-0 run this time, as Murphy tallied five of the seven points including a triple. The Vikings took the momentum back late in the half, taking a three-point lead before Sam Roth banked in a trey just before the buzzer to go to halftime tied at 34.

The teams traded buckets for the first eight minutes of the second period, until Alley dropped in back-to-back triples to give the Nighthawks a 54-47 lead with 10:28 to play. NNU would go up by as much as nine down the stretch, but the Vikings did not go away quietly. After NNU led 67-58 with five minutes to go, PSU went on a 7-0 run to cut the Nighthawk lead to two with just under 90 seconds remaining.

The Nighthawks’ updated schedule for the 2021 season is set to be released early next week.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

LCSC 75, YOTES 39: Lewis-Clark State drained 11 shots from the perimeter to lead the Warriors over visiting College of Idaho.

The Warriors (5-2) had a strong shooting effort throughout, connecting on 25-of-54 (46 percent) of their shots from the floor and sinking 11-of-24 (46 percent) of their 3-pointers.

Leading 38-20 at the half, LCSC posted a strong third quarter, outscoring the Yotes (1-6) 22-6 to build the lead to 34 heading into the final 10 minutes.

For C of I, Allie Cannon was the high scorer with seven points, three rebounds and two steals.

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