Wildcats ground Flyers down the stretch in 73-60 Win
NMU remains unbeaten after the first weekend of the season, defeating two GLVC teams in the top half of their conference preseason poll.
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Trailing 51-50 with 11 minutes left in the game, the NMU Wildcats men’s basketball team stepped it up on each side of the floor, going on a 23-9 run to close the contest, beating GLVC-contender Lewis 73-60 on Saturday in Houghton to improve to 2-0 on the season.
In the first 29 minutes of play, neither team could gain much of a cushion, as NMU’s largest lead was five with the Flyers’ best mark being up four. That’s when the Wildcats pounced, as Max Bjorklund hit a contested turnaround jumper and Carson Smith hit a three as part of a quick 8-0 run to go up seven. After a Flyers triple halted the run, freshman Max Weisbrod displayed the ice in his veins, hitting two threes, a tough jumper to beat the shot clock, and a pair of free throws over a four-minute stretch to build NMU’s lead to double-digits and seemingly put the game away. Weisbrod led the ‘Cats with 18 points on 6-10 shooting from the field with a 4-6 mark from three-point land. Dylan Kuehl poured in 14 on 5-6 shooting, including a pair of thunderous dunks. Brian Parzych and Carson Smith each scored 11 for the Green and Gold. NMU remains unbeaten after the first weekend of the season, defeating two GLVC teams in the top half of their conference preseason poll.
The Wildcats started the game on a 5-0 run, as Diego Robinson got his first start in the Green and Gold and got the game’s first hoop down in the paint. The Flyers started to find their offensive after a couple of minutes and NMU led 7-4 at the first media timeout at 15:54. After a stellar debut, Max Weisbrod entered off the bench and immediately made an impact, knocking down a three from the top of the key after the timeout. As the clock ticked down under a dozen minutes, Lewis pulled back even at 12 apiece with a mid-range jumper. The Flyers began to lock down defensively, forcing the Wildcats into several turnovers as the Wildcat offense momentarily went stagnant. Lewis got a reverse lay-up to go and continued to attack the basket as they led at 20-16 approaching eight minutes to go. Northern then went on a 6-0 run to get their lead right back as each offense seemed to find a rhythm. Lewis halted that run with a three-ball, but Dylan Kuehl responded soon after for the ‘Cats with a corner three of his own in front of the Flyers bench.
The lead kept being exchanged as the first half was winding down. Weisbrod got a shooter’s bounce on a three-point shot to get to eight points and a 30-28 NMU lead with 3:22 to go. The last few minutes of the half was reminiscent of the rest of the half, as neither side could build much of a cushion. With a minute to go, Weisbrod found a cutting Dylan Kuehl on the baseline and he flushed it home for the dunk. A Lewis three before the halftime horn evened up the scoreboard at 36. Max Weisbrod led the Wildcats with 8 points while Terry Ford led Lewis with 9. Each side shot 50% in the half as nearly every box score column was balanced between the two squads.
The start of the second half looked just like the first, as the game remained a one-possession game for a long stretch. Dylan Kuehl started to get into a groove for NMU, getting his second dunk and then connecting from downtown to get to 14 points. NMU led 50-49 with 11:19 to go. After Lewis jumped ahead 51-50, NMU went on a 8-0 run to get their largest lead of the game at the time at 58-51, leading to a Flyers timeout. Max Bjorklund hit a contested fadeaway and Carson Smith made a three-point shot on the run. Lewis halted the run with a three, as the game was at four points with under seven minutes to go. Max Weisbrod immediately got that triple back as well as another shortly after to get himself to 16 points and an NMU double-digit lead at 66-56 with 3:49 to go. Weisbrod continued to have the hot-hand, connecting on a highly contested step back from the top of the arc. The freshman’s guidance on offense late kept NMU up several possessions as the clock ticked down under two minutes. The late offensive eruption was the difference for the ‘Cats, outsourcing Lewis 23-9 in the final 11 minutes.
NMU will be home this coming Thursday and Friday (Nov. 17-18) as they will host Minnesota Crookston and Concordia-St. Paul. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. each night in the Berry Events Center.
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