Northern Michigan University Wildcats’ basketball teams hit road this week

Northern Michigan University’s Isaiah Johnson floats a shot against a pair of Purdue Northwest defenders during their GLIAC men’s game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Dec. 6. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University men’s and women’s basketball team return to GLIAC action on the road today and Saturday.

The Wildcats travel to Detroit today with the women facing Wayne State at 5:30 p.m. and men at 7:30 p.m. They continue their travels south, going to Ohio to play the nationally ranked teams at Ashland on Saturday, 1 p.m. for the women and 3 p.m. for the men. The Eagles’ men are No. 10 in the nation and women are No. 8.

Fans can follow the action via video, live stats and audio. Follow @NMU_Wildcats on Twitter.

Against WSU, live stats for the women are available at http://nmuwildcats.com/sports/wbkb/2018-19/boxscores/20190103_foqf.xml and for the men at http://nmuwildcats.com/sports/mbkb/2018-19/boxscores/20190103_e90l.xml.

For the Ashland games, live stats for the women are at http://nmuwildcats.com/sports/wbkb/2018-19/boxscores/20190105_d9q4.xml and men at http://nmuwildcats.com/sports/mbkb/2018-19/boxscores/20190105_4jos.xml.

—————-

Men shoot lights out

The NMU men lost twice at the Bellarmine, Ky., Classic, falling to Southern Indiana 74-69 and No. 1 Bellarmine 84-75. It marked the closest game Bellarmine has played this season.

Northern (8-3, 3-1 GLIAC) has relied on good shooting, ranked 11th in NCAA Division II at 42 percent on 3-pointers. Senior Isaiah Johnson leads the conference in scoring at 23.7 points per game and is second in the country making 55.2 percent of his 3s. He also makes 59.9 percent overall shooting, ranking 5th in the D-2.

And NMU is 21st nationally in free throw shooting at 77.9 percent. Senior Naba Echols, second in the GLIAC in scoring at 19.3 ppg, is second in the GLIAC and 13th in the NCAA at 92.4 percent on his free throws.

In addition, the Wildcats are third-best in D-2 in turnovers with 9.1 per game, with sophomore Alec Fruin committing just one in GLIAC contests.

And junior Myles Howard is 19th in the NCAA with 24 blocked shots, with his 2.3 average ranking 12th nationally. Both those numbers are No. 1 in the conference.

Wayne State holds a 39-36 all-time in the series, though the teams have split the past two years, the road team winning each game.

Ashland (10-0) leads 17-9 over NMU, including both games last year, the second in the GLIAC quarterfinals.

——————-

Women stingy on defense

In their most recent game, Lewis broke Northern’s five-game win streak with a 58-50 win on Dec. 17 in Marquette.

The Wildcats (9-3, 4-0 GLIAC) allow the fewest points in the GLIAC at 50.6 ppg, which is also No. 4 in NCAA Division II. In GLIAC games, Northern’s defense allows just 42.0 ppg as opponents are make just 26.3 percent of their shots and are held to 25.8 percent on 3-pointers. The NMU defense is fifth nationally, allowing opponents to make 32.4 percent on shots.

Northern’s 12-rebound margin is fifth in the country and 12.5 fouls committed per game sixth.

Junior Jessica Schultz leads the team shooting 59.0 percent from the field and averages a a team-best 10.7 ppg. She also makes 50 percent of her 3-point attempts and 84.5 percent of free throws.

Senior Tess Weatherly is second in the GLIAC shooting 52 percent from behind the arc and overall makes 48 percent of her shots.

NMU holds a 31-24 all-time lead on WSU (7-5), including winning two of the past three. Ashland (11-1) and NMU are tied 16-16 in their all-time series, though the Eagles have won the last 10 as they are the five-time GLIAC champions.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.