MARQUETTE, Mich. – Dean Ellis, the head men’s basketball coach at Northern Michigan University, had a couple of tricks up his sleeve on Saturday at the Berry Events Center. NMU won it first game of the season against its U.P. rival the Michigan Tech Huskies by a score of 61-51. With the win the Wildcats are now 1-6 overall on the season and 1-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). MTU falls to 3-4 and 1-2 respectively.
The Huskies raced out to a 10-1 lead after a little more than four minutes of play in the game. Over the next four minutes or so, the ‘Cats went on a 13-2 run to take the 14-12 lead (11:06). Tyler Kazmierkoski had five of the points during the run. Jake Suardini went in for a layup at 9:28 which made the score 16-12. At the 1:02 mark the ‘Cats had a 10-point cushion at 25-15 when Suardini made another layup. NMU did hold the 25-17 lead at the half.
The second half saw the Huskies try to get close, but the ‘Cats held the lead the entire 20 minutes. Suardini canned a three-pointer at 11:57 to give NMU the 42-33 lead. MTU hit its own three-pointer at 8:31 to get to within one at 44-43, but Kazmierkoski answered with a three of his own (47-43). Over the next four plus minutes the ‘Cats used a 5-1 spurt to take a 52-44 lead with four-and-a-half minutes left in the game. Jerard Ajami iced the game for the ‘Cats when he connected from downtown with about two minutes remaining in the game (55-46). He scored eight of the final nine points for the ‘Cats.
Ajami ended the game with a game-high 20 points. Kazmierkoski had 18 points while Suardini added 15. Sebastien Salois and Kazmierkoski both had six rebound s to lead the ‘Cats. Tim Strom led the Huskies with 12 points. Kris Alpers had a game-high 13 rebounds.
NMU shot a little over 43 percent from the floor (43.5 percent) on 20-46. From the three-point line the ‘Cats were 7-21 for 33.3 percent. Six of the three-pointers came from Suardini, Kazmierkoski and Ajami with two each. The ‘Cats made 20 trips to the free throw line and converted 14 throws (70 percent). The Huskies had the edge on the boards at 28-24.
NMU will be at Ashland on Saturday, Dec. 15 for its next action.
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