Wildcats Fall to USI at Bellarmine Classic

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WLUC) - Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball took on the University of Southern Indiana in the first game of the Bellarmine University Classic but fell 74-69.

STAT LEADERS
Senior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) led the team with 24 points, including a 10-11 showing from the free throw line. Senior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn.) added 19 points and six assists.

Junior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.) chipped in with nine points and had two steals. Redshirt freshman Troy Summers (Grayling, Mich.) posted eight points. Junior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.) notched two blocks.

THE FIRST HALF
USI scored first but Johnson answered with a layup and free throw and followed it with a three-pointer to put NMU ahead 6-2. The Eagles tied it at six but Johnson hit another shot from behind the arc to make it 9-6 with 15:40 on the clock.

Out of the first timeout, USI sank two free throws then made a layup to take a 10-9 lead. Johnson then answered with two free throws of his own to give NMU back the lead, 11-10. Echols soon followed an Eagle layup with his own layup and free throw to put NMU up 14-12 with 13:24 on the clock.

USI responded with a layup to tie the game, and added two free throws but Summers made a layup and a jumper to put NMU back on top 18-16. The Eagles then scored five points before Echols made a layup to make it 21-20 at the 7:51 mark.

USI scored five points again to pull ahead before junior Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) made a three and Echols followed with another three-pointer and put the Wildcats ahead 26-25.

The Eagles responded with six straight points and held a 31-26 lead with two minutes to go. Johnson hit two free throws but USI added a free throw and a jumper to take a 34-28 lead into the break.

THE SECOND HALF
Taylor started the second half with two threes to tie the score and then added another to give NMU a 37-34 lead two minutes into the half. The Eagles answered with a layup and a dunk but Echols hit a free throw and the game was tied at the 17-minute mark.

The teams then traded baskets and one-point leads until a tip-in and jumper from Summers gave NMU a 61-56 lead with 6:56 to play. USI responded with a layup but sophomore Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) answered with a three and Echols made a layup to make it 66-58 at the six minute mark.

A minute later, Johnson made a layup to follow an Eagle score with 5:05 on the clock. The Wildcats would add a free throw but USI was able to pull ahead and took a 74-69 victory.

UP NEXT
The Wildcats fall to 8-2 on the season while UIS improved to 6-2 overall. NMU will return to action Wednesday afternoon to take on #1 Bellarmine University at 3 p.m.