NMU men’s basketball: Turnovers negate Wildcats’ good shooting in 69-61 loss at GVSU

ALLENDALE – Despite getting a game-high 24 points from junior forward Justin Newell coming off the bench, Northern Michigan University was unable to record its first true road victory of the season on Thursday night, falling 69-61 at Grand Valley State.

The Wildcats, now 4-16 overall and 3-13 in the GLIAC, won a neutral site game early in the season against Mount Vernon Nazarene of Ohio, but haven’t won on an opponent’s court yet this season.

Sophomore guard Terry Nash scored 16 points for NMU, while junior teammate Chavis Mattison grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

“I am proud of the fact that we played very hard,” Northern coach Bill Sall said. “The telling stat is (GVSU) had 21 points off 14 of our turnovers. If you take away half of those, we have a great chance to win the game.

“Newell had a great game and I thought Nash played really well.”

The turnovers negated a superior shooting night for the Wildcats, who made half their 2-pointers (14 of 28), just missed making half their 3-pointers (8 of 17) and were 9 of 11 from the free-throw line. Newell scored half of his points from sinking 4 of 5 triples.

All five Laker starters scored in double figures, led by forward Ricardo Carbajal with 20 points on 7 of 9 from the field and 6 of 7 at the free-throw line.

Northern gained its only lead at 12-10 near the midpoint of the first half on a Nash layup before GV (15-5, 11-5) went on a 15-6 run.

NMU got it back within 29-25 at halftime, but couldn’t catch the Lakers, though they did get as close as 50-48 on a Newell 3-pointer with 7:01 to go.

The Wildcats return to action at 3 p.m. on Saturday when Sall faces his former team, Ferris State, for a second time this season, but for the first time in Big Rapids. Sall was the head coach at Ferris State for 11 seasons before leaving to coach NMU this season.