PAINESVILLE, Ohio - Junior guard Ethan Blackwell scored a career-high 22 points and Northern Michigan University's registered its second highest point total of the season, but it wasn't enough to avert an 89-82 loss at Lake Erie College on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats slipped to 3-9 overall and 2-6 in the GLIAC, while the Storm is 6-8 and 3-5.
"We played hard tonight; we just made too many mistakes," NMU head coach Bill Sall said. "Too many mental errors, and when you are on the road and you make too many mistakes, you are going to be hard-pressed to win."
Blackwell, who made four 3-pointers, dished out a game-high seven assists as three teammates also scored in double figures - sophomore guard Terry Nash and freshman guard Marcus Hall had 15 points apiece while junior forward Justin Newell came off the bench to score 13, including four 3s. Brandon Havercamp led NMU rebounders with five.
Though Northern led most of the first half, including by as many as nine points at 22-13, Lake Erie got a layup from Sean Howard eight seconds before halftime to take a 41-40 lead at the break.
LEC then opened the second half on a 9-0 run to take a 50-40 advantage. NMU fought back to tie the game three times in the second half and even took a one-point lead, 76-75, with 3:58 left on a 3-pointer by Blackwell.
The Storm got their lead beyond one possession for good with about a minute and a half left on a Tom Parker layup and held off the Wildcats by making all four of their free throw attempts in the final 33 seconds.
Both teams blistered the nets, hitting more than half of their overall and 3-point shots. NMU made 51.1 percent from the field (24 of 47) and 52.4 percent on 3s (11 of 21), while Lake Erie was even better, hitting on 60 percent from the field (30 of 50) and 55 percent on triples (11 of 20).
The Storm's Riley Thomas led all scorers with 25 points, while Garrick Sims added 18 points and six rebounds. Parker had 11 points and six assists.
Northern returns home for two games this week, starting with a 7:30 p.m. Thursday game against Grand Valley State.