Extra extra time: Despite getting leading scorer Max Weisbrod back, Nothern Michigan University men’s basketball team succumb in 2 overtimes to Grand Valley, 106-99

Northern Michigan University’s Max Weisbrod works his way around several Grand Valley State defenders during their GLIAC men’s basketball game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Thursday. (Photo courtesy NMU)

Today’s games:

NMU men and women close the regular season at home today vs. last-place Davenport; women’s game at 11 a.m., men’s at 1 p.m.; Radio: WUPT 100.3 FM The Point


MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team didn’t have to lament the absence of its leading scorer, 3-point maker, free throw shooter and assist producer anymore on Thursday night.

But it wasn’t quite enough to have sophomore guard Max Weisbrod back from injury as the Wildcats extended Grand Valley State to two overtimes before succumbing 106-99 at the Berry Events Center.

While it won’t cost NMU the No. 1 seed in the upcoming GLIAC Tournament — the Wildcats at 13-4 in league games own the tiebreaker over second-place Lake Superior State (12-5) — they still haven’t clinched the outright regular-season title with one game to go, Saturday’s 1 p.m. home game against last-place Davenport (4-13).

Northern Michigan University’s Dylan Kuehl, left, finishes off his first of two dunks in the first half of a GLIAC men’s basketball game played against Purdue Northwest at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Feb. 10. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

But it still must’ve been a comfort to the Wildcats team to return Weisbrod to action after he missed the previous three games, two of them losses.

And despite some possible rust, he still led all scorers with 27 points, making a pair of 3-pointers, but more impressively 13 of 13 free throws. That doesn’t even mention his game-leading seven assists or his three rebounds.

The 13-of-13 performance ties him for second place for the most free throws made by a Northern player in a game without a miss in its 100-plus-year history.

Unfortunately, Weisbrod fouled out about halfway through the second overtime 20 seconds after he hit a short jumper that pulled NMU within 96-94.

Northern head coach Matt Majkrzak did some major substituting in the game’s final minute trying to get back in the game, changing three players out four times in the final ticks.

It went for naught as after Weisbrod exited, GVSU reeled off a 6-0 run, all on free throws, to take a 102-94 lead with 1:27 left.

The Lakers, who occupy fourth place and have clinched a home berth in the GLIAC tourney quarterfinals, made another four free throws at the end to preserve their win.

Five other Wildcats also scored in double figures. Brian Parzych and Sam Schultz each added 15 points with Schultz pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds while Parzych had three assists.

Teammate Dylan Kuehl scored 12 points, Carson Smith 11 and Riley Brooks 10. Kuehl nabbed eight rebounds, Smith seven and Brooks four.

Grand Valley was led by Britain Harris with 24 points, hitting a trio of 3s, while teammate and Marquette Senior High School graduate Marius Grazulis had 22 points and Lakers’ highs of 10 rebounds and four assists.

The Wildcats (20-9 overall) were forced into playing catchup for much of the night. Northern had its only lead in regulation time, 5-2, on a Weisbrod triple with 17:24 left.

GVSU quickly took the lead, and even though NMU tied it 7-7 and 10-10 a few minutes later, the Lakers built a lead of double digits that reached 23-11 with 11:48 left in the opening half on a William Dunn layup.

While Northern whittled that deficit to three, 23-20, on a nine-point run culminated by a Brandon Trilli layup, Grand Valley again pulled away to build an even bigger lead that ballooned to 38-23 with 5:38 left before halftime following a Mason Docks jumper.

In an odd twist, Grazulis at this point had scored just two points. He finally did put in another basket with 1:29 left, scoring his other 18 points over the second half and both OTs.

Coming out of halftime trailing 48-35, the Wildcats had plenty of work to do. They slowly scratched back as the Lakers’ last double-digit lead was 54-44 with 16:30 left after a Dunn jumper.

NMU went on a 7-1 run to pull within 55-51 with 13:40 to go on a Brooks’ triple. But GVSU managed to keep it at least a two-possession game for more than 10 minutes as the Wildcats finally got within three points, 76-73, on a Kuehl layup with 2:38 remaining.

And they didn’t catch the Lakers until with 11 seconds left in regulation, Weisbrod followed up a defensive rebound with a trip down the floor and his OT-forcing 2-pointer.

There was still plenty of action left. After not having the lead since the game’s opening three minutes, NMU jumped out in the first minute of the first OT with the initial seven points to go ahead 88-81. That include a Kuehl dunk and five free throws from Weisbrod — of course, he made all those without a miss.

Not as quickly but just as effectively, GVSU retied it 90-90 with 1:44 left on a Docks triple. After that, each team’s big rebounder — Schultz and Grazulis — each made a layup to send it to another overtime tied 92-92.

The Lakers took the lead in the second OT with back-to-back layups by Grazulis and Dunn in the first 100 seconds for a 96-92 lead.

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


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