Strong Defensive Effort Leads Men's Basketball to Victory

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MARQUETTE, Mi. Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball had their best defensive showing since the 2001-02 season as they collected a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Lake Superior State University with a 65-40 win.

The 40 points are the fewest allowed by the Wildcats since defeating Shippensburg 60-40 in the 2001-02 season.

STAT LEADERS
Senior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.) led the team with 18 points, making four three pointers. Sophomore Troy Summers (Grayling, Mich.) added nine points while senior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.), junior Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) and sophomore Dolapo Olayinka (Chicago, Ill.) all chipped in with eight points.

Howard also snagged 12 rebounds and had four blocks. He now has 201 blocks in his career to become the second player in program history with 200 blocks and is just 12 blocks away from the school record.

Olayinka grabbed eight rebounds.

THE START
Summers scored the first basket of the game with a layup, then Taylor added a jumper to give NMU a 4-0 lead. After an LSSU score, freshman Noah Parcher (La Crosse, Wis.) found Olayinka on the lob for a dunk. Howard followed by hitting a free throw before a Taylor three gave NMU a 10-2 lead at the 10:47 mark.

LSSU was able to answer and take a 14-10 lead but Parcher made a jumper and Howard converted an and-one to tie it at 14-14 with six minutes to play. The Wildcats soon added a free throw from Howard and Summers to take the lead back. After two free throws from the guests, Taylor scored five points.

With a minute left in the half, Lake State made a layup to take the NMU lead down to 21-18 but Taylor closed out the half with a three of his own to give the Wildcats a 24-18 lead heading into the break.

SECOND HALF RUN
Taylor opened the half the same way he closed the first half, by hitting a three. After an LSSU free throw, Matelski knocked down a jumper to give the hosts a 29-19 lead. The Lakers scored three points before Summers scored inside again, he then added two more baskets after three free throws from Lake State to give NMU a 35-25 lead with 13:38 to play.

After a Taylor layup, LSSU scored four points to make it 37-29 but NMU followed with a 23-3 run. Howard started the run with a free throw before Olayinka scored five points. Fruin added a three to answer a Lake State free throw, then put in a layup and another three to move NMU ahead 51-32 with eight minutes to play.

Olayinka continued the rally with a free throw and Howard converted an and-one. Parcher made a layup and Matelski knocked in a three to give NMU the 60-32 lead with five minutes remaining.

At 2:58, sophomore Naseer Turner (Chicago, Ill.) made a three which moved the score to 63-37. Freshman Zxavier Jones (South Milwaukee, Wis.) added a jumper with 34 seconds remaining.

In the end, NMU picked up the 65-40 victory.

UP NEXT
The Wildcats improved to 8-9 on the season and 5-4 in the GLIAC while Lake Superior State falls to 6-11 overall and 3-6 in the league. NMU will next hit the road for a four-game road trip, starting with Davenport University and Grand Valley State University next week.