UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. (WLUC) – The Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball team picked up their first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory of the season with a 67-59 victory over Saginaw Valley State University.
Senior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) paced the Wildcat offense with 31 points and also grabbed a team high eight rebounds. Senior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn.) added 12 points while junior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.) chipped in with eight.
THE FIRST TEN
Sophomore Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) scored the first basket of the game, but the Cardinals answered and took a 6-2 lead before Johnson hit a three then followed it with a free throw to tie the game. Echols then made a layup to give NMU an 8-6 lead three minutes into the game.
Johnson then added a layup and a free throw before the hosts hit a shot, making the score 11-8 with 15-57 on the clock. The Cardinals made a three to tie the score but Echols answered with a layup. The hosts hit a three in response and took a 14-13 lead with 13:08 left to play but Echols followed with layup.
FINISHING THE HALF
With 9:48 on the clock, the hosts took a 17-15 lead, but sophomore Troy Summers (Grayling, Mich.) made a basket to tie the score. Taylor answered an SVSU score with a layup but the Cardinals hit a jumper.
With four minutes to play, Johnson made a basket to tie the score at 21 all. He then hit a three and a layup to push NMU ahead 26-21 with two minutes left in the first half. The teams closed out the half by trading two free throws and NMU went into the half with a 28-23 lead.
THE SECOND HALF
The Cardinals scored first, but Taylor followed with a three. The hosts soon made a 31-30 NMU lead but junior Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) and Johnson hit jumpers before SVSU made a basket to make it 35-32 with 16:26 to play.
Johnson answered with two free throws, then a layup and Matelski hit a three and pushed the NMU lead to 42-34 at the 13:43 mark. After two SVSU free throws, Johnson hit a three then Taylor answered a Cardinal three with his own before Johnson sank two free throws to make the NMU lead 50-39 with 11:20 to play.
The Cardinals made a basket, but Johnson followed with a layup. Summers then made a jumper before SVSU scored, then hit a free throw and layup to move NMU ahead 57-44. Two free throws from the hosts were followed by another Johnson score and the NMU lead was 59-46.
The hosts battled back and soon made it 59-53, but junior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.) made two free throws with 38 seconds to play. After an SVSU score, Echols made six free throws down the stretch and SVSU was unable pull closer, giving NMU a 67-59 victory.
NMU improves to 6-1 on the season and are now 1-1 in the GLIAC. The Wildcats will now return to the Berry Events Center to take on Purdue University Northwest in the team's GLIAC home opener with game host Econo Foods.