MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – Senior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) scored a career-high 33 points to achieve 1,000 points in his career and guided the Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball team to a 77-59 victory over Lewis University.
Johnson entered the game just four points away from the 1,000-point club and is now the 32nd player in program history to achieve the mark. He also joins senior Naba Echols (Mempis, Tenn.) who achieved it last season. Johnson scored 1,000 points in just 82 games, averaging 12.5 points per game. This season, he is averaging 28.5 points per game after posting his career-high in today's contest. Last night against McKendree University, Johnson scored 24 points.
Behind Johnson was Echols with 15 points. He also dished out eight assists. Junior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.) added nine points and also finished with five blocks on the day, the fifth time in his career he posted five blocks in a game. Junior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.) had a team-best three steals.
As a team, NMU shot 57% from the field in the first half, and 60% from behind the arc. They finished the game 25-51, 49% overall, and 11-22, shooting 50% from three. Defensively, they kept the Flyers to just 14% from three in the first half and 5-15 through 40 minutes.
Lewis scored first but Johnson answered with his first three of the game. He then followed with a jumper and a layup, and despite a Flyer score, NMU was ahead 7-4 early. Lewis responded and eventually took a 10-9 lead at the 13:35 mark.
On the next possession, Johnson hit another three-pointer and junior Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) made a three to make it 15-10 for NMU. After an LU bucket, Johnson made a jumper followed by a jump shot from sophomore Dolapo Olayinka (Chicago, Ill.) to make it 19-12 with 11:10 to play.
The Flyers inched back and made it 19-17 before Echols sank a three to start a 24-7 rally to close the first half.
GOING FOR A RUN
After Echols hit his three, the Flyers made a jumper, but Olayinka followed with two free throws. Howard then hit a jumper and Johnson made two more free throws to make it 28-19 with 7:06 on the clock.
At the 5:56 mark, Johnson made another three-pointer followed by another three by Echols to move it to 34-19 with 4:57 to play. The Flyers scored but Johnson made a layup to answer and then Howard hit another jumper before Lewis made a basket to make it 38-22 with 2:18 to play.
Johnson extended the lead with a jumper and blocked a shot and was able to grab the rebound and race down court for the dunk to give NMU a 42-22 lead with 1:35 left in the half. The Flyers hit a jumper and Olayinka sank a free throw to make the score 43-24 at the half.
THE SECOND HALF
Johnson extended the lead to start the second half with another three-pointer. After an LU basket, Johnson hit from behind the arc again to move it up to a 49-26 lead with 15:40 to play. The Flyers made a layup and a three-pointer to cut the lead to 18 points. Lewis managed to chip the lead down to 15 points, 52-37 at the 12:02 mark.
Echols then followed with a jumper and Matelski hit another three, with a Taylor free throw to push the lead back to 58-37. Lewis responded with a three-pointer but Howard followed with a jumper and sophomore Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) made two free throws to keep the lead at 22 points, 62-40 with 8:22 left on the clock.
Lewis was able to cut the NMU lead to 17 points at the 7:18 mark, 62-45, but stopped the quick rally with three makes from the charity-stripe. Taylor made a three-pointer and Johnson made two more free throws to give the Wildcats their largest lead of the game, 69-45 with 5:43 to play.
Lewis cut into the lead but couldn't get much closer as NMU won 77-59.
The Wildcats improve to 2-0 on the season and will look to continue their strong start Tuesday night as they host University of Minnesota-Duluth at 7:30 in the Berry Events Center.