Wildcats come up just short
NMU men fall to Wayne State, will play at Ashland in first round of GLIAC?Tournament
By Journal Sports Staff
MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team had a chance to lock up its first postseason home game in more than a decade Saturday afternoon, but it came up short.
The Wildcats fell to Wayne State 71-70 at the Berry Events Center, so that loss combined with Ashland’s victory over Northwood sends NMU (15-11, 12-7 GLIAC) on the road for the first round of the GLIAC Tournament. Northern, the No. 5 seed, will play at No. 4 Ashland Wednesday.
Naba Echols led the Wildcats with 25 points, while Will Carius had 22 and Isaiah Johnson had 14.
NMU pulled within one point of the Warriors (14-10, 12-7) with a minute remaining, but ultimately, ran out of time. WSU missed two free throws with a few seconds left and during a loose ball scramble, the Warriors got the ball with 0.3 seconds left.
After WSU missed a free throw, Northern got the rebound, but the clock ran out before it could get off a buzzer-beating shot.
WSU got off to a hot start and a 7-0 run midway through the first half gave the Warriors a 22-9 lead.
However, the Wildcats rallied back. Carius and Marcus Matelski hit back-to-back treys and another triple from Johnson cut NMU’s deficit to three with six minutes left.
Northern took its first lead of the game at 36-35 with less than two minutes left in the half on another 3-pointer by Johnson. After the Warriors scored four straight points, Carius put in two free throws and a Johnson layup put the Wildcats up 40-39 at the break.
In the second half, the Warriors got off to another good start and held a 58-47 advantage with 11:37 remaining.
However, the Wildcats didn’t give up and slowly whittled down WSU’s lead. Carius hit a triple to make the game 66-60 with six minutes left and later, a layup from Echols made the game 70-66. After the Warriors made a three throw, Carius sank a jumper and Echols put in two free throws to cut Northern’s deficit to 71-70, but that’s the closest the Wildcats could get.
Northern plays at Ashland at 7:30 pm. Wednesday. The Wildcats fell to the Eagles by one point back in January in Marquette.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.