Comeback: Wildcat men overcome 10-point halftime deficit for 85-77 win

Northern Michigan University freshman Max Weisbrod, left, works his way around Minnesota-Crookston's Ron Kirk during their college men's basketball game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. (Photo courtesy NMU)

By Journal Sports Staff

HAMMOND, Ind. — Max Bjorklund led the Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team out of a slow start as the Wildcats made up a 10-point halftime deficit to win their GLIAC opener at Purdue Northwest, 85-77 on Thursday.

NMU, which improved to 6-2 overall, trailed 40-30 at halftime and had trailed by 13 points on multiple occasions during the first half.

Bjorklund, among the nation’s leading scorers, led Northern on this night with 20 points, 13 coming in the Wildcats’ 55-point outburst in the second half.

He sank 4 of 7 on 3-pointers and pulled down five rebounds.

Freshman teammate Dylan Kuehl added 17 points, hitting 9 of 10 free throws to go with a game-high eight rebounds.

And Carson Smith contributed 12 points for NMU while not committing a turnover in 29 minutes court time.

Another Northern freshman, Max Weisbrod, tallied up six rebounds and a team-high four assists to go with seven points.

Mikell Cooper scored 26 points and Alou Dillon 22 to lead the Pride, who fell to 5-5 also in their GLIAC opener.

Purdue NW wasted no time in establishing a 6-0 lead, but the Wildcats fought back to actually go ahead 13-8 on a Justin Kuehl layup with 11:35 left in the first half.

As quickly as they earned that lead, NMU gave it right back as the Pride reeled off a 12-0 run to take a 25-13 lead 6:57 before halftime.

Purdue NW kept it mostly at a double-digit advantage for the rest of the half, including the 10-point edge at intermission.

Then NMU went to work starting about a minute into the second half, putting together a 11-0 string in just 2 1/2 minutes.

It featured a Brian Parzych jumper and two triples by Smith and one by Bjorklund to shave the Pride’s lead to one, 44-43, with 16:34 to go.

Less than two minutes later, NMU took its first lead since the early going, 50-49, on another Smith trey as the advantage seesawed for several more minutes.

But the Wildcats had an answer for every PNW basket and established their own double-digit lead, 71-60, on a Dylan Kuehl layup with 4:51 left.

While Northern was never able to get the lead any bigger than that, the Pride also couldn’t pull closer than six points the rest of the way.

NMU remains near the south end of Lake Michigan for the weekend, traveling to Kenosha, Wisconsin, for a game at Wisconsin-Parkside at 4 p.m. EST Saturday.

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


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