Hot shooters lead Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team to split on the road

Northern Michigan University's Brian Parzych, front, brings the ball upcourt during a game at the GLIAC-Great Lakes Valley Conference Challenge held at Michigan Tech University in Houghton earlier this month. (Photo courtesy NMU)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team made a weekend road trip to Minnesota worth it by the time it ended, winning their second game for a split.

The Wildcats lost at St. Cloud State 76-69 before bouncing back for a 90-76 victory at Minnesota-Duluth as they enter GLIAC play this week.

NMU, now 5-2, will play its fourth and fifth games in a row away from home when the Wildcats go to Hammond, Indiana, to face Purdue Northwest at 8 p.m. EST Thursday and go to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to play Wisconsin-Parkside at 4 p.m. EST Saturday.

The road odyssey ends there as the following weekend Northern comes home for a GLIAC doubleheader that begins with Ferris State at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, at the Berry Events Center.

Here is a roundup of the past weekend’s games:


St. Cloud State 76, NMU 69

On Saturday in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the host Huskies took the lead for good with about 6 1/2 minutes remaining.

The Wildcats lost despite another productive scoring day by Max Bjorklund, who finished with 28 points as he made 11 of 14 free throws along with three 3-pointers while he also pulled down six rebounds.

Brian Parzych added 11 points to the NMU cause, hitting all four of his free throws to go with four rebounds and a team-high two steals.

Carson Smith led Northern rebounders with nine, while Max Weisbrod paced the team in assists with four.

Tommy Chatman led three St. Cloud players scoring in double figures with 16 points as he also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Huskies (2-3) probably had their biggest advantage at the free-throw line, where they made 24 of 27 (89 percent) to 18 of 25 for NMU (72 percent). Chatman was 5 of 5 there.

After the teams traded the lead multiple times in the early going, Bjorklund hit a pair of free throws with 4:30 left in the first half to give Northern a 33-31 lead.

Getting the advantage up to six points several times, the Wildcats settled for a 41-38 lead at halftime.

The lead again changed hands several times early in the second half as NMU tied it 56-56 on a Weisbrod triple and 58-58 on a Parzych layup, the latter with 7:27 to go.

Soon after, though, the Huskies took the lead for good. Northern got it back within one possession, 69-66, on a pair of Bjorklund free throws with 51 seconds left, but would get no closer.


NMU 90, Minnesota-Duluth 76

On Sunday in Duluth, Minnesota, the Wildcats showed why they’re a guard-heavy lineup as Bjorklund, Weisbrod and Parzych combined to score 71 points.

They made shots from all over, combining to sink 11 triples and making 16 of 17 from the free throw line.

Bjorklund led the parade, scoring 26 points as he hit four 3s and 9 of 18 shots overall, also pulling down five rebounds.

Weisbrod added team highs of six rebounds and six assists to go with 23 points as he was 5 of 6 from the field, including 4 of 5 on 3s, and made 9 of 9 free throws.

Parzych was no slouch, either, scoring 22 points as he made three triples, all 3 of his free throws and added four rebounds, four assists and two steals.

In addition, Dylan Kuehl had three of NMU’s four blocked shots while making four rebounds and hitting 3 of 4 shots for six points.

Austin Andrews paced Duluth (5-2) with 22 points and seven rebounds.

The Wildcats were particularly dominant with their 3-point and free throw shooting, making 46 percent on 3s (12 of 26) and 95 percent on free throws (18 of 19).

The Bulldogs were a more pedestrian 26 percent on triples (5 of 19) and 68 percent on free throws (17 of 25).

NMU didn’t take its first lead until Kuehl made a layup with 9:07 left in the first half for a 21-19 edge.

Northern upped its advantage to eight points, 34-26, on a Weisbrod 3 a few minutes later and still led 46-42 at halftime.

Though the Wildcats never fell behind in the second half, the Bulldogs tied it twice — 48-48 and 50-50, the latter with 15:40 remaining.

But culminated by a pair of Parzych free throws, NMU used a 5-0 run to go back on top 68-59 with 7:56 to go.

Duluth had a couple more runs left, twice getting back within three points, the final time at 76-73 with 2:15 left.

But another Northern spurt, this one 8-1 with all three top scorers contributing, put it out of reach at 84-74 with 59 seconds remaining.

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


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