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Northern Michigan University Wildcat men’s basketball team falls at Grand Valley State in overtime

Max Bjorklund

ALLENDALE — The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team made up a 17-point deficit late in the second half to force overtime, only to fall at Grand Valley State 81-75 on Friday afternoon.

Despite having a lead briefly in the first few minutes of the game, the Wildcats fell behind 38-21 with 3:12 left in the first half after the Lakers’ Isaac Gassman made a pair of free throws.

Trailing 43-32 at halftime, NMU was still down 62-52 with 4:59 left after a pair of free throws by Jordan Harris of GVSU. That’s when the Wildcats went to work, going on a 15-5 run to tie the game 67-67 with 1:01 remaining on a Max Bjorklund jump shot.

Northern actually took a 69-67 lead after Tre Harvey made a pair of free throws with 23 seconds to go, but the Lakers forced overtime when Jake Van Tubbergen answered with his own two charity tosses with 10 seconds left.

Bjorklund had a chance to win it for NMU in regulation, but his 3-pointer missed with 2 seconds remaining.

Justin Kuehl

In OT, NMU’s Alec Fruin hit a triple to give his team a 72-71 lead less than a minute and a half in. With 36 seconds to go, Justin Kuehl hit his own 3 to pull Northern within 76-75, but NMU’s fouling strategy was foiled when the Lakers made five of six free throws in the final 27 seconds and NMU missed a pair of triple tries in that span.

Bjorklund led Wildcats scorers with 17 points, though he was only 2 of 10 on 3-point tries. He did make 5 of 5 free throws and had six assists, four rebounds and a blocked shot.

Kuehl came off the bench to score 12 points, including 3 of 6 on triples while grabbing four rebounds. Dolapo Olayinka also had 12 points while playing 41 minutes and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and had a blocked shot.

Fruin added nine points, all on triples, and seven rebounds while Harvey and Ben Wolf had eight points apiece.

All five Lakers starters scored in double figures, accounting for all but five of their team’s points. Van Tubbergen had 21, including 10 of 13 free throws, and 11 rebounds, while Gassman had 20 points, Christian Negron 13, Harris 12 and Deleon Brown 10.

Dolapo Olayinka

The teams complete their weekend series back in Allendale at 3 p.m. today.

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

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