HANCOCK, Mi. It was a scrappy effort as the Finlandia University men’s basketball team (0-6) fell 83-58 to North Central (Ill.) (4-0), Tuesday night at the Paavo Nurmi Center.
“Tonight we played better in spurts,” said head coach Mike O’Donnell. “I thought we scrapped on defense better than we have all season. Ultimately their size and pressure got to us. We gave up way to many offensive rebounds, we need to be better at playing leverage basketball against taller teams.”
North Central came out running scoring the first 11 points of the game. Freshman Jaden Janke hit a pair of free throws and sophomore Jacob Oom hit a triple. That made it 11-5 with 14:30 to go.
The Cardinals lead by 15, 25-10 at the 8:51 mark before Finlandia started creeping back in. The Lions went on a 14-3 run over the next five minutes.
Freshman Kevin Straih dropped one in from the Mighty Mac. That made it 28-24, NCU with 3:56 to go. North Central would lead by eight at the break.
In the second half, FinnU would hang in, trailing 45-39 with 13:59 to go. The Cardinals would out-score Finlandia 10-2 over the next four minutes to seal the game.
For Finlandia, Janke scored 19 points shooting 6-of-9 from the floor with three treys. Sophomore Dylan Underwood had a strong all-around game with 14 points, nine assists and three steals while Straih scored 10 points.
For North Central, Connor Raridon had 22 points, 11 rebounds and five assists and Mike Pollack scored 16 points.
Finlandia hits the road, Tuesday, Dec. 4 taking on UW-Oshkosh. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. CST