NMU men’s basketball team wins first GLIAC tournament title in 23 years with victory over Michigan Tech
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (WLUC) - The NMU men’s basketball team finished off the job in the GLIAC title game, overcoming rival Michigan Tech 79-66 to secure the first tournament championship since 2000. With the win, the ‘Cats punch the GLIAC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a 24-7 record.
After consecutive 23-point games in the quarterfinals and semifinals, Max Bjorklund scored 13 points and took home tournament MVP. He averaged 19.7 PPG over the three games. Max Weisbrod scored 14 points and tacked on five rebounds and five assists, also making the All-Tournament team. Sam Schultz made a big impact against the Huskies to lead the ‘Cats off the bench with 17 points. He was 6-8 from the floor and added six rebounds. Dylan Kuehl posted a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double.
The Wildcats will wait to see who they’ll matchup with in the Midwest region in the big dance in Sunday night’s NCAA Selection Show, taking place at 11:30 p.m. ET on NCAA.com.
How it Happened
The first bucket of the title match came from Sam Privet, but it was the Huskies who had the hot touch early on, connecting on three triples less than five minutes into action to control the play early. Sam Schultz provided a spark off the bench for the Green and Gold, having an answer for each Husky bucket. It was a lot of back-and-forth action throughout the opening half. The ‘Cats led 32-27 after Bjorklund and Smith triples, but a 9-0 spurt from MTU gave them a slim 36-34 lead at recess.
Carson Smith gave the ‘Cats the lead back coming out of halftime with another three. Just when it felt NMU might start to put together a run, Josh Terrian connected on his third three of the day in as many tries to give Michigan Tech a four-point cushion at 45-41. That’s when Dylan Kuehl came to life, scoring six on an 11-0 Wildcat run to go up 52-45 with a dozen minutes to play. MTU answered with buckets on consecutive trips to close it back to a one-possession game. With under five minutes to go, Dylan Kuehl beat the shot clock with an impressive fadeaway to go up eight. Schultz then completed an and-one to snag a double-digit lead, and Bjorklund followed that with a rack attack lay-in. After leading 62-58 with 5:36 to go, NMU went on a 13-0 stretch over the next four minutes to go ahead 75-58. MTU got the next seven, but it was too little too late as the Wildcats were victorious, 79-66.
- NMU has won its first GLIAC title since 2000 and will make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since then as well.
- Max Bjorklund was named the GLIAC Tournament MVP after averaging 19.7 PPG in the three games. Max Weisbrod also made the All-Tournament team.
- NMU shot 25-56 (44.6%) while the Huskies were 25-55 (45.5%). NMU was cold from deep, going 4-17 (23.5%), but productive from the charity stripe, shooting at a clip of 25-33 (75.8%).
- Dolapo Olayinka (FSU), Marius Grazulis (GVSU), Dan Gherezgher (MTU), Marcus Tomashek (MTU), Max Weisbrod (NMU), Max Bjorklund (NMU) - MVP made up the All-Tournament team.
Up NextThe Wildcats will wait to see who they’ll matchup with in the Midwest region in the big dance in tonight’s NCAA Selection Show, taking place at 11:30 p.m. ET on NCAA.com. Stay tuned to NMUwildcats.com for updates.
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