Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team loses close one to Lake Superior State, 74-72

Northern Michigan University's Brian Parzych, right, looks at the basket for his shot with St. Cloud State's Matthew Willert defending during their game on Nov. 27 at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. (Photo courtesy NMU)

MARQUETTE — For the second time in three days, Northern Michigan University lost a GLIAC men’s basketball game at home, on Saturday falling 74-72 to Lake Superior State.

On Thursday, Ferris State downed the Wildcats 76-63 with both games played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.

NMU lost its sixth straight to fall to 3-7 overall and 0-4 in the GLIAC. The Wildcats have a pair of nonconference games at home next, hosting former league member Indianapolis at 1 p.m. Sunday and Upper Peninsula rival Finlandia at 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2.

Northern resumes its conference schedule at home on Thursday, Jan. 6, vs. Purdue Northwest at 7:45 p.m.

On Saturday, a pair of baskets by Max Bjorklund and John Kerr erased most of a 74-67 deficit in the final 2 1/2 minutes. Bjorklund sank a 3-pointer with 2:20 to go, then Kerr hit a jumper from the paint with 1:54 left to make it a two-point game.

But neither team scored another point after that as the Wildcats took a couple shots and had a turnover in those final 114 seconds.

Freshman Brian Parzych came off the bench to lead NMU scorers with 20 points, hitting 8 of 9 shots, including one triple, while making 3 of 5 free throws. He also grabbed three rebounds and made two assists while not making a turnover in 30 minutes court time.

Junior Justin Brookens added 16 points, which included 4 of 8 on triples, while leading scorer Max Bjorklund was held to nine points, though he made a pair of 3s and grabbed three rebounds.

The Wildcats’ top rebounder was Justin Kuehl with six to go with four points, all in just 19 minutes.

Malek Adams paced the Lakers (6-2, 2-2 GLIAC) with 23 points. Teammate Justin Fischer added 11 points while adding game highs of 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Both teams shot right around 50 percent from the field, though the Wildcats held a 2-to-1 edge in 3-pointers, 8-4. But Lake State made 80 percent of its free throws (12 of 15) to 62 percent for NMU (8 of 13).

Rebounds were within one, NMU holding a 29-28 edge, but NMU had five more turnovers, 13-8.

The Lakers jumped out to a quick 21-10 lead, though a quick — 71-second — 10-0 Northern run cut it to 21-20 on a Parzych fast-break jumper with 10:18 left in the first half.

The Wildcats took their first lead, 26-25, with 7:24 to go in the half on a pair of Ben Wolf free throws. It was in the midst of an 11-2 NMU run that built Northern’s 33-27 lead when Brookens nailed a trey with 4:28 left.

The teams traded the lead down the stretch with the Wildcats keeping a 39-37 advantage at halftime.

The second half was ultracompetitive, with the lead changing hands 13 times in the first 12 minutes. NMU held its last lead at 60-59 on sophomore Sam Schultz’s jumper from the paint with 8:34 remaining.

But LSSU retook the lead for good within the next minute, stretching it to 74-67 with 2:40 to go on a Xander Okerlund jumper from the paint.

Northern followed with its baskets by Bjorklund and Kerr, but it wasn’t quite enough to get over the hump.

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


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