MIDLAND, Mi. Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball saw two players finish with 20 points but the Wildcats suffered their first setback of the season as they fell to Northwood University in the first game of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule.
Senior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) led the team with 25 points, hitting five three-pointers, and also grabbed four rebounds with two steals. Senior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn.) posted 22 points, going 8-8 from the free throw line.
Freshman Naseer Turner (Chicago, Ill.) chipped in with a career-high nine points, making all four of his shots from the field. Junior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.) tallied six points and had a team-best six rebounds. Junior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.) notched four blocked shots in the effort.
THE FIRST HALF
A dunk from Howard started things off, then Taylor hit a jumper to answer an NU basket to make it 4-2 early. The Timberwolves responded with two three-pointers to take a lead and Johnson's first score made it a 7-6 NU lead just over three minutes into the game.
Taylor gave NMU the lead back with another jumper but the hosts came back with back-to-back layups. An Echols layup made it 11-10 NU at the 14:17 mark. Johnson and NU made layups and then Johnson hit a three to give NMU a 15-13 lead with 12:50 to play in the half. Johnson added a free throw followed by an Echols layup and pushed the NMU lead to 18-13.
Echols made a jumper between four points from Northwood but a jumper and three from the hosts made the score 22-20 with 8:47 left. NU pushed out to a 27-20 lead but Echols sank two free throws with 6:49 on the clock to narrow the gap.
The Timberwolves responded with five points but Johnson hit two from deep to make it 32-25 with 3:56 to play. The team's then traded baskets, with Johnson scoring a layup. Echols would add a jumper after another Northwood three and the score was 37-32 with 1:51 remaining in the first half.
The Timberwolves added two free throws before the buzzer and took a 39-32 lead into the break.
THE SECOND HALF
Johnson hit another three-pointer early in the second half, but Northwood pushed their lead out to 17 points, 52-35, before Echols made two free throws at the 11:19 mark and added a layup 20 seconds later.
After another NU basket, Johnson hit a three. The hosts responded with a basket, Echols answered with a layup, and the hosts scored five more points before Turner made a free throw to make the score 60-45 with seven minutes left in the game.
The Timberwolves responded with five more points before Johnson hit a jumper. After a basket and free throw from NU, Turner made a layup and moved the score to 68-51 with 4:27 to play.
NMU tried to chip into the lead but ultimately fell 76-54.
The Wildcats fall to 5-1 on the season and 0-1 in the GLIAC while Northwood improves to 3-4 on the year, 1-0 in the conference. NMU will look to rebound as they continue GLIAC play Saturday when they visit Saginaw Valley State University.