MARQUETTE - The Northern Michigan University men's basketball team was handed a learning lesson and 95-66 loss in its first GLIAC matchup of the year against Walsh University on Thursday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.
"We didn't play as hard as we need to play in order to play in this conference," NMU head coach Bill Sall said.
"My expectations even for this team are higher that we find a way to go out and compete for an entire 40 minutes."
Northern Michigan University sophomore Terry Nash (3) goes up for the layup against Walsh University’s Trey Fletcher (32) and Brandon Havercamp (30) on Thursday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. (Journal photo by Jenna Thompson)
Sall said NMU was half a step slow on defensive rotations, which allowed Walsh's shooters to shine. In order to be successful, Sall said NMU needs to hold the score at around 60 points.
"For us to be capable enough to be in games like this against GLIAC teams, we're going to have to do a way better job on the defensive end," Sall said.
The Cavaliers led the entirety of the contest. The Wildcats closed the lead to 10 points in the second half, but Walsh battled back and extended its lead to 34.
Freshman Dorrell Foster had a team-high 22 points for the 'Cats, followed by freshman Marcus Hall with 11 and junior Chavis Mattison with 10.
"We were told it would be tough, but we didn't really know," Foster said. "It's going to be a tough league to play in."
Hall also had five rebounds for NMU, while junior Terry Nash and sophomore Brandon Havercamp had four apiece.
Although some athletes have stepped up so far this season and there are glimpses of success, NMU needs to find more players who can play consistently well, Sall said.
"We're searching, but we've not yet found five that we can put out there and find all the consistency we need," Sall said.
For the Cavaliers, Jesse Hardin led the team with 20 points, while Chall Montgomery and Hrvoje Vucic had 16 and 14, respectively. Walsh outrebounded the Wildcats 34-25, and was 96.2 percent from the free throw line in comparison to NMU's 72 percent.
The Wildcats continue GLIAC play at home against Malone University at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The Pioneers fell 81-55 to Michigan Tech on Thursday in Houghton.