Strong Second Half Propels NMU Men's Basketball to Victory in Season Opener
Five players reached double figures for the Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball team as the Wildcats opened the Matt Majkrzak era with a 76-63 victory over Lewis University in the first game of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference/Great Lakes Valley Conference Challenge.
Sophomore Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) tallied a team-high 17 points, going 3-4 from the three point line. Sophomore Dolapo Olayinka (Chicago, Ill.) added 13 points with senior Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) chipping in with 12 points, hitting four threes.
Freshman Ben Wolf (Naperville, Ill.) posted 11 and senior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.) had 10. Senior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.) tallied nine points and led the team with six rebounds.
Taylor and freshman Noah Parcher (La Crose, Wis.) both notched five assists. Taylor also got three steals in the effort.
NMU committed just nine turnovers in the game and forced the Flyers into 16, with NMU scoring 20 points off Lewis turnovers. The Wildcats also recorded 15 assists compared to just 8 from Lewis.
From the field, NMU shot 47 percent including 45 percent from behind the arc. Defensively, the Wildcats held Lewis to 33 percent from deep.
THE SEASON TIPS OFF
Fruin got things started by scoring NMU's first five points. The Flyers were able to rally and take a lead but Howard tied the score at 10-10 halfway through the first half. With just under three minutes left, NMU called timeout down 24-17 but scored the final six points of the half to narrow the gap to a 24-23 halftime deficit.
SECOND HALF STRONG
To start the second half, NMU hit five threes to take a lead. Olayinka and Fruin made two with Matelski also hitting one, plus a layup from Olayinka gave NMU a 40-32 lead five minutes into the half.
Lewis pulled within 40-37, but Matelski stopped the Flyers' run with a three. Lewis was then able to pull within in four points, 43-39 but would be unable to get any closer as NMU closed out the game with strong defense and timely shooting on their way to a 76-63 victory.
The Wildcats return to action Sunday afternoon to take on host McKendree University at 4 p.m. The Bearcats also picked up victory in their season opener, defeating Michigan Technological University 78-73.