ANCHORAGE, Ak. The Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball team defeated the University of Alaska Fairbanks 95-45 to begin the Seawolf Thanksgiving Classic.
The win is the largest victory over a Division II opponent since the Wildcats defeated Wayne State University 110-51 in 1990.
13 players scored for the Wildcats with senior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.) and freshman Noah Parcher (La Crosse, Wis.) leading the way with 14 points. Taylor also dished out a career-high seven assists with Parcher notching four.
Sophomore Dolapo Olayinka (Chicago, Ill.) added 11 points and senior Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) tallied nine.
Freshman Xzavier Jones (South Milwaukee, Wis.) finished with a team-best seven rebounds while Olayinka and senior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.) posted six.
As a team, the Wildcats finished the game shooting 55.2% from the field and 45.5% from behind the arc. In the second half, NMU was 64% from the field and 53.8% from the three-point line.
They outscored the Nanooks 38-16 in the paint and 20-3 off turnovers.
Defensively, they held the Nanooks to just 25% shooting from the field and 11.8% from the arc, including just 7.1% in the second half.
BUILDING A LEAD
Parcher started things off with a basket which Alaska answered. Junior Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) added two free throws then sophomore Troy Summers (Grayling, Mich.) put in a layup to move the NMU lead up to 6-2 three minutes into the game. After another Nanook score, Fruin made another free throw and Summers scored again followed by a free throw by Taylor to make it 10-4.
The Nanooks cut the lead down to 10-8 but Matelski hit a three, then Taylor made a layup between two Alaska scores to make the score 15-12 at the 10:50 mark. The Wildcats answered with six points to make it 21-12 before an Alaska three.
Howard answered the three with a layup and Summers made two free throws to give the Wildcats their first double digit lead, 25-15 with seven minutes left to play. A free throw by the Nanooks cut it back to nine points before Taylor made a layup. After another Alaska free throw, Olayinka made a three but the Nanooks responded with four free throws which made the score 30-21.
The Wildcats answered with an and-one and two baskets by Parcher, followed by a lob from Taylor to Olayinka for the dunk to take a 39-18 lead with a little move three minutes left in the half. Parcher made a three to close out the half for NMU while Alaska made a jumper with a minute left to send the game into halftime with the Wildcats leading 42-23.
EXTENDING THE LEAD TO VICTORY
Alaska opened the second half with a layup but Parcher followed it with a jumper. After a Nanook free throw, Matelski made two threes followed by a Fruin layup and a three-pointer from redshirt freshman Ben Wolf (Naperville, Ill.) and Taylor. The 14-0 run ended with a Nanook free throw and NMU was leading 58-27 with a little under 13 minutes left to play.
Olayinka then hit two threes around an Alaska three, followed by a three-point play from Taylor which made the score 67-30 with ten minutes left in the game.
With 5:30 left, sophomore Marcus Krachinski (Perronville, Mich.) made two free throws to make it 74-34. Sophomore Naseer Turner (Chicago, Ill.) added a layup with 4:28 on the clock which gave the Wildcats a 77-36 lead.
At the 3:44 mark, sophomore Carson Wonders (Iron Mountain, Mich.) converted an and-one to move the NMU lead to 82-38. Redshirt freshman Hart Holmgren (Ishpeming, Mich.) made a layup with 1:53 left to make it 91-39.
Jones added two free throws and Turner hit a jumper to finish the NMU scoring giving the team a 95-45 victory.
The Wildcats are now 3-2 on the season and return to action Saturday night to take on the hosts, Alaska Anchorage, at 11:30 p.m. Eastern time.