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Northern Michigan University Wildcat men’s basketball team suffers 2nd close loss at Grand Valley, 77-72

Dolapo Olayinka

ALLENDALE — Northern Michigan University suffered its second straight men’s basketball loss at Grand Valley State on Saturday with a 77-72 setback to the Lakers.

Following Friday’s 81-75 overtime loss, the Wildcats slipped to 6-7 while GVSU improved to 7-5. All games played by both teams are GLIAC contests this season.

Northern travels to Houghton today for a game at Michigan Tech at 5:30 p.m. That game and the Huskies-Wildcats women’s game that follows in Marquette will be televised by Fox-U.P.

NMU fell into a deep hole early on Saturday, trailing 17-2 just six minutes into the game following a 3-pointer made by GV’s Blake Verbeek. But the Wildcats needed less than five minutes to get back within 21-15 after Northern’s Noah Parcher sank a jump shot with 9:27 remaining in the first half.

GVSU rebuilt its lead into double digits and was ahead 37-30 at halftime.

Max Bjorklund

Though NMU never caught the Lakers, they did pull within one possession multiple times, including at 47-44 on a Sam Schultz 3-pointer with 11:29 left, 55-54 on a Dolapo Olayinka triple with 7:52 remaining and 72-69 on a Parcher trey with 31 seconds to go.

Northern’s fouling strategy didn’t work in the final seconds as the Lakers hit 5 of 6 free throws in the last 29 seconds, despite NMU’s Max Bjorklund hitting another triple with 6 seconds to go.

Olayinka led the Wildcats with team highs of 16 points and nine rebounds, while Bjorklund added 14 points and four rebounds as each of those players made a pair of 3-pointers. Parcher added 11 points and a team-high three assists, while Justin Kuehl had nine points and five rebounds.

Deleon Brown led four GVSU starters scoring in double figures with 18 points as Christian Negron had 16, Jake Van Tubbergen 14 and Jordan Harris 13. Harris also had six rebounds and six assists.

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

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