Olayinka's late heroics help NMU claw past Davenport

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MARQUETTE, Mi. For the second straight game, the Northern Michigan men's basketball program went to overtime as Dolapo Olayinka tied things up with 14.4 seconds to play in regulation.

It only took one overtime period to determine a victor this time as the Wildcats defeated Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference foe, Davenport University, 80-74.

The men jumped out to a quick lead with a pair of threes from seniors Sam Taylor and Marcus Matelski to give the Wildcats the 6-4 lead three minutes in.

At the first media timeout, the two teams were knotted with six points each.

The two teams battled back and forth, trading baskets as they remained tied at 13-13 but the Panthers broke the stalemate as they scored three for a 16-13 lead.

Myles Howard grabbed the offensive rebound out of the air and sent it home to cut the Panther lead to one before Xavier Jones made two free throws to put the Wildcats back on top, 17-16, with eight minutes to play.

Shortly after the Panthers regained the lead, Jones rushed the paint and made the layup to go up 19-18 but the Panthers answered back with a jump shot of their own.

As the shot clock turned red, Taylor sunk his third three-pointer of the half to put NMU back up by two. Matelski then followed up with another three of his own to give the Wildcats a 25-22 lead with six minutes left in the first half.

Taylor hit his fourth bucket of the game from beyond the arc to put his team up 30-29 late in the half as hit shot sailed from deep and hit nothing but net.

Seeing no open lane shortly after, Taylor handed the ball off to Ben Wolf who scored his first points of the night with a clean dunk at 1:30 to play.

At the half, the Wildcats held a narrow edge in points, up 32-30, over the Panthers. Taylor led the team in points with 12 while classmates Howard and Matelski were just behind with the next highest totals, posting eight and six points, respectively.

The Wildcats continued to hold the one-point lead through the first eight minutes of the second half before Ben Wolf tipped in a missed three-pointer to give NMU the 48-45 lead partway through the half.

The Panthers pressured hard in the final 10 minutes of regulation and NMU found themselves trailing 67-60 with a minute and a half to go.

Taylor stole the ball out of thin air as Davenport tried to inbound it and sent it over to Matelski for the three-point basket to come within a possession of the lead, trailing 67-65.

Davenport tried for a shot but were denied by Howard as he leapt up to block his program record 226th career shot and second of the night to keep the Wildcats' chances alive with 40 seconds to play.

With a one-and-one chance with 25.5 seconds to go, Davenport made the first but were unable to get the second shot in and the Wildcats stormed down the court where Olayinka sent a three-pointer home with 14.4 seconds to play to tie things up at 68-all.

Through the first 40 minutes of play, Taylor led the team in points with 19 while he also forced the most turnovers, picking up three steals in the contest.

The Wildcats took back the lead with 3:34 to play when Olayinka was credited with two free throws to bring his point total to 13, giving the Wildcats the 71-70 tally.

After the Panthers went on a small run, Olayinka tied things up yet again with a made three-pointer from deep to knot things at 74-74. The Wildcats then got the defensive stop on the other side of the court and ran it back for Olayinka again with the made layup.

The Panthers were then called for travel as NMU led, 76-74 with under a minute to play.

Matelski was sent to the line with 24.5 seconds to play, making both shots to extend the Wildcat lead to four points, 78-74.

Going back to the line after picking up the defensive rebound, Noah Parcher sealed the deal for the Wildcats as they defeated Davenport, 80-74, in overtime.

The men conclude their regular season next Thursday, February 27 when they host rival Northern Michigan at the Berry Events Center.

Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.