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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The name's Bond, Aaron Bond.

And he has a license to kill.

Bond did just that Thursday night, scoring 26 points virtually at will against a flummoxed Montana defense in Northern Arizona's 83-67 basketball win over the Griz at the Walkup Skydome.

Bond's performance was expected. The smooth 6-foot-7 senior leads the Big Sky Conference in scoring during league play. But the Griz defense made 7-footer Joakim Kjellbom, the "Swattin' Swede," look like an All-American. Kjellbom (pronounced SHELL-bom) doubled his career high in points with 18, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked five shots in just the third start of his career.

Montana's leading scorer Kevin Criswell, meanwhile, was shut out for the first time in his career, going 0-for-5 from the field. Junior Kamarr Davis led the Griz with 13 points, but was again plagued by foul trouble that limited him to 21 minutes. Senior Steve Horne added 11.

The Griz, who fell to 2-4 in league, 5-14 overall, have now allowed 74 or more points in five straight games. NAU improved to 4-2, 11-8 despite garnering just its first league win at home.

"We've got to find something," said Montana coach Pat Kennedy, who had the Griz start the game in a zone defense to try to avoid foul trouble. "We were hoping tonight that we'd find a little something with the zones."

What they found was a sweet-shooting NAU team. The Lumberjacks, who rank 18th in the country with 8.8 treys a game, made four in the first six minutes while jumping on top 18-7. The lead grew to 15 before the Griz found Davis inside for a couple of shots to trim the margin to 30-23 with 5:47 to play before half.

But NAU point guard Chris Ferguson then drained a 3-pointer to ignite a 14-2 run to close out the half, giving the Jacks a 44-25 lead at the break.

Bond hit two fallaway jumpers over Davis and completed a three-point play after a dunk during the burst.

"My confidence is running real high right now," said Bond, who is averaging 25 points in his last four games. "After the first two home losses the season has just turned around. I'm feeling sure of myself, sure of my teammates."

The Jacks were consistently beating the Griz down the floor. Even Kjellbom burned the Griz twice in the first half in transition.

"I'm used to running," said Kjellbom, who came to NAU from Irvine Valley (Calif.) Junior College. "I was used to playing soccer … before I got too tall."

NAU's lead grew to as much as 54-28 on successive uncontested baskets by Stephen Garnett. Although the Griz chipped away at that lead, they never put together anything resembling a run.

"We go right, they go left; we go left, they go right," Kennedy said. "We go zone, they make shots. We go man, they get fouled. We're searching, which is a terrible thing to have to say. That's everyone's fault obviously.

"(The Lumberjacks) are outstanding shooters. I guarantee when they come to Missoula they'll see 40 minutes of man-to-man defense."

Kennedy started sophomore Corey Easley at center in place of John Seyfert, who was the only Grizzly to have started every game this season. Easley played just 13 minutes and was no match for Kjellbom on the defensive end.

"Our bigs got beat down the floor tonight," Kennedy said. "They have a post player (Kjellbom) who came in averaging four points, he had 18 points, a la Montana State, a la (Pat) Danley from Weber State. We're just getting killed right now at the five spot."

Kennedy said he's worried about his team's confidence, or lack thereof.

"We look so much more alive in practice than we do in games," Kennedy said. "We almost look like deer in headlights. I don't know if the losing has created this for our guys or what's created it for us.

"We were so out of it so fast. Let's be honest. They came down and did what they wanted to do. We didn't have a fighting chance tonight, not even a fighting chance."

The Griz will close out the first half of conference play Saturday night at Sacramento State. The Hornets (2-4, 8-11) beat Montana State 77-71 Thursday night.

Notes: NAU had assists on 20 of its 29 field goals; Montana had just 12 on 28 makes. … The Griz had 22 turnovers, their third straight game with 20 or more. … NAU took sole possession of second place with the win. … Eastern Washington (5-1) held onto its one-game lead in the conference standings with a 100-73 thumping of Idaho State (3-3). … Weber State (3-3) beat Portland State (2-4) 68-63 in Portland. … MSU, ISU and Weber are all tied for third, while the Griz, Portland State and Sac State are all tied for last. It's possible that after Saturday night's games, five of the league's eight teams could be 3-4.

Sports editor Bob Meseroll can be reached at 523-5265 or by e-mail at sportsdesk@missoulian.com.

MONTANA (67)

Mins FG-A FT-A Reb PF A Pts

f-Horne 22 5-9 0-1 4 2 2 11

f-Davis 21 5-8 3-3 5 5 2 13

f-Easley 13 3-5 0-0 1 2 1 6

g-Mansell 28 3-7 1-1 0 2 3 8

g-Criswell 25 0-3 0-0 3 2 1 0

Wilkins 10 1-1 1-2 1 1 0 3

Lynch 6 2-2 1-1 1 2 0 6

Booker 10 3-4 0-0 0 0 0 6

Cummings 11 2-3 0-0 3 1 1 4

Seyfert 19 1-3 0-2 7 5 0 2

Dlouhy 10 1-2 0-0 1 1 0 3

Pederson 10 1-2 0-0 6 1 1 3

Venters 15 1-4 0-0 1 1 1 2

Totals 200 28-55 6-10 33 25 12 67

NORTHERN ARIZONA (83)

Mins FG-A FT-A Reb PF A Pts

f-Yazzie 26 0-10 2-2 6 0 6 2

f-Bond 28 10-14 4-6 2 2 0 26

c-Kjellbom 25 8-11 2-3 7 3 0 18

g-Ferguson 26 4-7 4-5 8 1 5 14

g-Golob 29 2-8 2-2 2 1 2 8

Lyon 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Ballard 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Garnett 13 2-3 1-2 0 0 0 5

Williams 2 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0

Burger 8 0-3 0-0 2 1 0 0

Feuerbach 16 2-4 0-2 0 2 2 6

Boykin 19 1-4 2-2 5 0 5 4

Meynen 4 0-0 0-0 1 2 0 0

Totals 200 29-64 17-24 33 13 20 83

Halftime score: Northern Arizona 44, Montana 25.

3-point goals: UM 5-15 (Pederson 1-1, Lynch 1-1, Mansell 1-2, Dlouhy 1-2, Horne 1-3, Davis 0-1, Easley 0-1, Cummings 0-1, Criswell 0-3), NAU 8-24 (Bond 2-2, Ferguson 2-4, Feuerbach 2-4, Golob 2-7, Burger 0-2, Yazzie 0-5).

Turnovers: UM 22 (Mansell 6), NAU 16 (Yazzie 3).

Blocked shots: UM 4 (Seyfert 3), NAU 6 (Kjellbom 5).

Steals: UM 6 (Mansell 2), NAU 11 (Yazzie 3, Bond 3).

Officials: Bruce Hicks, Chuck Jannelli, Gregg Morstein.

Attendance: 1,720.

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