MARQUETTE - The point guard position for the Northern Michigan University men's basketball team may just have a hex on it, specifically on redshirt freshman Terry Nash.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Milwaukee native and Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-Star had to take a redshirt last season for the Wildcats because he was ineligible while his understudy, Quinten Calloway, missed 10 games due to injury.
Now, three games into his first season on the floor, Nash is back on the bench, this time with an injury.
So again, third-year Wildcat head coach Doug Lewis is scrambling to fill the void left by Nash at the position the mentor can least afford to lose.
"Terry is a difference maker," Lewis said. "When you win at this level, you have a difference maker, especially at the point guard position.
"Without him, we have to make a new adjustment and we have to do it quick. It's a hard adjustment and hopefully, we can get him back in a couple weeks."
- Tonight: Hillsdale at Northern Michigan, 5:30 p.m., Berry Events Center
- Saturday: Findlay at Northern Michigan,
1 p.m., Berry Events Center
The Wildcats are without Nash for the second-straight weekend of GLIAC play, hosting Hillsdale College today at 5:30 p.m. at the Berry Events Center and Findlay at 1 p.m. Saturday in Marquette.
Northern opened league play last week with a pair of losses in Canton, Ohio, to GLIAC newcomers Walsh University (75-68) and Malone University (75-66) to drop to 1-4 overall.
The lone victory was in the 'Cats only home contest, a 129-52 rout of NCAA Division III Finlandia on Nov. 17.
"We're at a place trying to make this transition," Lewis said. "Terry is out, probably our best player. The most important position in basketball is the point guard position and we got comfortable with him running the show."
With Nash back on the bench, Lewis is planning to start true freshman Stephen Pelkofer at point guard tonight while 2011-12 point guard Calloway continues to come off the bench in a reserve roll.
Lewis is unable to turn to last year's reserve point guard and second leading scorer, sophomore Haki Stampley, because he's out for the entire season due to health reasons.
Pelkofer is averaging a team-high 30.6 minutes per contest and is third among Wildcats in scoring, averaging 10.2 points per game.
Calloway, who started both losses in Ohio, is averaging 20.8 minutes and six points an outing.
Neither Calloway nor Pelkofer have been the playmakers Nash has been, however, with Nash totaling 15 assists in three games - the combined total of Pelkofer and Calloway in their five games.
"I thought we were going to have arguably the best backcourt in the league this year with Stampley coming back. Now, he's out for the year," Lewis said.
"Then, with Nash, I thought we could survive, especially with Pelkofer being a talented freshman. But he's up and down."
Hillsdale comes to Marquette with a spotless record - 2-0 in the GLIAC and 5-0 overall - while Findlay has a lone blemish this season in five games at 2-0 in the league and 4-1 overall.
Northern has had little success against both the Chargers and Oilers as of late. The Wildcats have lost their last six games against Hillsdale and have only three wins all time in 17 games against Findlay.
Tim Dezelski is leading Hillsdale, averaging a double-double of 16.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Greg Kahlig is averaging 19.4 points and six rebounds per game for Findlay.
Both could give Northern fits considering Northern's woes on the defensive end and on the boards.
"I'm not happy with our defense. Signs of good teams are you get stops and you rebound the ball," Lewis said. "We've been out rebounded the past three games.
"As a coaching staff, we need to get that settled. We need to make sure we get that solved."
Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252.