SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team scored a season-low 49 points and dropped its ninth game of the season to South Dakota on Thursday night (71-49) at the Sanford Clinic Holiday Classic which is being held at Augustana College. With the loss the Wildcats are now 1-9 on the season while the Coyotes improve to 12-0. The two teams will tangle again on Sunday (Dec. 30) in Vermillion, S.D. on the Coyotes home court.
SD raced out to a 9-0 lead a little over three minutes into the game. NMU scored its first basket of the game a three-pointer by Jerard Ajami at 14:21. Sebastien Salois made a layup at 12:55 to get the ‘Cats within three at 11-8. NMU would hang tough with the Coyotes for the next couple of minutes as the ‘Cats were within three points once again at 16-13 when Jake Suardini canned a three-pointer (11:00) and then at 9:40 NMU was within two points (17-15) when Eric Sirrine converted a layup.
Ajami hit from downtown to tie the score at 21-all with 6:34 left on the clock. SD went on a 9-0 run to take the 30-21 lead with 4:15 left in the half. After 20 minutes of play the ‘Cats were down 42-28.
The second half the ‘Cats struggled from the floor as the team shot 22.6 percent (7-31) which included 3-13 from the three-point line (23.1 percent). NMU also did not receive any points off the bench in the second 20 minutes of play. Darren Jones scored all six of his points within the first five minutes of the second half. The ‘Cats never got over the hump in the half as the Coyotes held a double-figure lead the entire 20 minutes of play.
Ajami had a team-high 14 points on the night. Suardini was the only other ‘Cat in double-figures with 12 points. Mitch Begeman off the bench had a game-high 20 points for the Coyotes. Suardini, Ajami and Jones all had five rebounds to pace NMU.
For the game the ‘Cats were 18-58 from the floor for 31 percent (season low). The 18 field goals made tied the season low mark for the ‘Cats. Ajami had four of the nine three-pointers on the night. NMU attempted 26 three-pointers (34.6 percent) for the game. From the free throw line the ‘Cats were 4-6 (66.7 percent). NMU was out-rebounded by five for the game (37-32).
NMU will face Augustana tomorrow (Dec. 28) at the classic.
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Sports Information Director