MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University earned a road basketball split on Saturday in Big Rapids, the Wildcat women defeating Ferris State 52-49 while the Northern men fell, 74-65.
The NMU teams return home for games on Thursday when the women host Saginaw Valley State at 5:30 p.m. and the men face the Cardinals at 7:30 p.m. at the Berry Events Center.
Gruber leads NMU women
Junior guard Lauren Gruber made a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left for the final three-point margin as part of her game-high 14 points.
NMU, 14-7 overall and 11-6 in the GLIAC, trailed most of the first half, including 26-23 at halftime, but used an 11-1 run to start the second half and the take the lead for good.
But the 34-27 advantage the Wildcats enjoyed on Courtney Lemon's 3-pointer with 14:33 to go would be their biggest lead.
Ferris (6-12, 6-10) cut it to one point on two occasions, including 50-49 with 31 seconds left on a layup by Christina Branch before Gruber's free throws.
"We had to play with a lot of toughness today," NMU head coach Troy Mattson said. "We didn't shoot really well, especially early on, but we played incredible defense."
The Bulldogs had two chances to tie the game in the waning seconds, but NMU junior Abbey DeBruin blocked a 3-point attempt by FSU's Dena Droste with seven seconds left and a desperation heave that followed fell short at the buzzer.
NMU?junior guard Alyssa Colla scored 12 points, while sophomore Nea Makela pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Droste led Ferris with 14 points.
NMU men lose 7th straight
Freshman guard Marcus Hall scored 18 points but it wasn't enough to keep the Wildcat men from losing their seventh straight and slip to 4-16 overall and 3-13 in the GLIAC.
Justin Newell hit 2- and 3-point shots in the first 5:17 to help stake NMU to a 7-4 lead, but within a minute and a half the Wildcats lost the lead for good.
Northern was as close as 33-30 on a Hall triple about 2 1/2 minutes into the second half before Ferris pulled away.
Junior forwards Chavis Mattison scored 12 points and Justin Newell 11 for the Wildcats, while Drew Lehman poured in 18 points to lead four players scoring in double figures for the Bulldogs.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Steve Brownlee. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.