<
>

N. Arizona 68, Furman 56

LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Nathan Geiser scored 23 points, 21 from 3-point shots, to lead Northern Arizona to a 68-56 win over Furman in the first round of the Gossner Foods Holiday Classic on Thursday.

Josh Wilson also scored 12 for the Lumberjacks (8-4). Bobby Austin scored 12 and Alex Opacic 10 for the Paladins (0-9).

Furman stayed close to the Lumberjacks as the second half started, then Northern Arizona went on a 10-1 run to take a 48-38 lead with 10:05 to play. The Lumberjacks kept the lead, stretching to as many as 16 points, behind 3-point shooting from Geiser and scrappy play from Wilson, who scored nine in the second half.

The Paladins, who started four freshmen in the game, attempted 22 3-point shots, hitting only seven. Northern Arizona out rebounded the Lumberjacks 40-30.

In the first half, Furman ran out to a quick 7-2 lead but Northern Arizona got back in the game with aggressive defensive pressure. There were six lead changes and five ties in a tight first half, which ended in a 29-27 Furman lead.

Northern Arizona will face the winner of the game between tournament host Utah State and Utah Valley State in the tournament championship game Friday night.