GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLUC) – The Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball team visited #16 Davenport University in a matchup of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foes, but fell to the ranked Panthers 74-71.
Senior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn.) led the way with 27 points to tie his season high. He also dished out a team-best five assists.
Senior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.), junior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.), and sophomore Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) each added 10 points. Johnson also notched three assists.
Junior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.) notched eight points, eight rebounds and had three blocks.
Johnson tied the game at 2-2 but DU rallied with ten points before junior Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) hit a three. The Panthers answered with five points until Howard hit a jumper to make the Davenport lead 17-7 at the 11:27 mark.
Echols added a jumper but once again DU responded with seven points. Howard stopped the run and made it 24-11 with a jumper but the Panthers made a layup.
FINISHING THE HALF
With the score 26-11 at the 7:05 mark, Echols sank two free throws and then assisted Howard for a dunk to narrow the gap. Howard followed it with a tip-in and Fruin hit a three which made the score 26-22 with five minutes to play.
The Panthers added a basket but Johnson answered with two free throws. Davenport then made three more free throws before Fruin hit a jumper. However, DU made four more free throws.
In the final minute of the half, Matelski hit another three and Echols made two free throws and Taylor made one to pull within 38-32 at the half.
THE SECOND HALF
Davenport started the half with three points before Johnson made a jumper. The hosts made a three-point play and then made two jumpers around a Taylor layup before adding a layup to take a 50-36 lead just 2:30 into the half.
Echols made a layup then hit two free throws and a three after another DU score. After DU added free throw, Echols sank three free throws, two jumpers and a three-pointer to tie the game at 53-53 with 13:12 to go. Echols closed the gap scoring 17-straight points for NMU.
The Panthers were able to stop his 17-3 run with a jumper, two free throws and a layup. Down 59-53 with 11 minutes to go, Taylor hit a three and Johnson made two free throws to move it to 59-58. The Panthers then hit a three with ten minutes to go.
Out of a media timeout, Taylor made a layup but Davenport made a free throw. Taylor answered with another layup but DU responded with two more free throws and a three-pointer before they added a tip-in.
Fruin hit a jumper and then made a three after the hosts added another basket. Davenport answered with their final score of the game to take a 74-67 victory lead with 3:25 to play.
After the final media timeout, Echols sank two free throws with 3:11 to go. Johnson made two more free throws with 1:54 on the clock. Unfortunately, NMU was unable to close the gap and ended up falling to the conference leading Panthers 74-71.
The Wildcats fall to 15-11 on the season and 10-9 in the GLIAC while the #16 Panthers improved to 24-3 and 16-3 in the league. The Wildcats return to action Thursday night in the regular season finale to take on rival Michigan Technological University. The team has advanced to the GLIAC Tournament and are currently in a three-way tie for the fifth seed.