UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mi. Despite a strong effort in the second half, the Northern Michigan University men's basketball program came up short at Saginaw Valley State, falling to the Cardinals, 68-63 Thursday night.
Down 42-24 at the half, the men bounced back with an 18-1 run to start the second half, eventually knotting things up at 45-45 with 10:37 gone in the latter half.
The team's leading scorer Thursday night, Dolapo Olayinka broke two career-bests as he led the Wildcats to the tight finish.
Dolapo Olayinka led the team in points, sinking half of the Wildcats' 24 through the first half at SVSU Thursday night. Senior Sam Taylor posted six of his own as he inched closer to his 1,000th career-point, with just 18 to go before hitting the milestone.
The Wildcats picked up 17 rebounds in the first half against the Cardinals, with Olayinka owning eight.
Justin Kuehl had two helpers in the first half, a team best, while Noah Parcher, Myles Howard and Alec Fruin each had one assist.
Trailing 18 at the half, the men came out firing to start the second half, going on an 11-0 run and outscoring their opponent 18-1 through the first nine minutes.
One of the nation's top-defensive teams, the Wildcats allowed the first Cardinal basket of the half with 9:10 elapsed in the second half of play.
Able to tie things up late in the game, the late offensive push came up just short as the Wildcats fell, 68-63, at SVSU.
CAREER HIGH NIGHT
Dolapo Olayinka shattered his previous career-high point total with 24 on the night, including 12 in the second half to fuel the comeback. He also picked up 13 rebounds in the tight game for another career-high.
He shot 60 percent from the field and was three-of-four from the line on Thursday night. He also tied his career-high three-point total with three baskets from beyond for nine of his 24 total points.
Two Wildcats picked up double-doubles in Thursday night's loss at SVSU. Olayinka's 24 points and 13 rebounds led the team in both categories while Myles Howard had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior Sam Taylor's 13 points against the Cardinals brings his career point total to 989 and sits just 11 points away from becoming just the 33rd Wildcat to reach the 1,000 career points milestone.
With three blocks in Saginaw Thursday night, Myles Howard comes just six blocked shots away from breaking the NMU school record of 212. He now boasts 34 this season and 207 career blocks.
NMU continues their road trip this Saturday when they face Northwood University in Midland, Michigan.
The team will then return to Marquette to take on Wisconsin-Parkside at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 6.