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Opening for real

MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University opens its men’s basketball regular season tonight with a nonconference game at Minnesota-Duluth.

The Wildcats have played three exhibition games, defeating NCAA Division III Finlandia University of Hancock and losing to a pair of NCAA Division I and Big Ten opponents, Michigan State and Michigan, during the past several weeks.

NMU put together solid first halves against the Big Ten schools, trailing by five to MSU and 10 to U-M.

Northern Michigan has plenty of young talent.

Sophomore guard Jordan Perez has been off to a hot start for the Wildcats, posting 15 points against MSU and 13 against Michigan.

Freshman guard Naba Echols is already showing production with 13 points and seven assists against the Spartans and 13 points against the Wolverines.

Junior guard Marcus Hall has quietly contributed in the those games, tallying 11 points against MSU and five points and five rebounds against Michigan.

And coming off the bench, freshman guard-forward Isaiah Johnson has seen considerable playing time with six points in 17 minutes against Michigan State and four points in 22 minutes against Michigan.

UMD will enter the contest after a weekend of playing in a three-league crossover tournament, losing to Central Missouri 78-60 and defeating East Central, Oklahoma, 87-82.

Pierre Newton leads the Bulldogs averaging 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

NMU holds a narrow edge in the overall series over Duluth, 34-33, after winning last season 56-53 in Marquette.

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

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