MARQUETTE, Mich. – Led by three players in double-figures the Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team picked up its third win of the season with a 61-54 win over the visiting Wayne State University Warriors. NMU had a 36-25 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The win improves the Wildcats to 3-13 overall on the season and 3-5 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). WSU falls to 9-7 and 3-5 respectively.
The ‘Cats raced out to a 9-0 lead almost three minutes into the game. The run was highlighted by a jumper by Jerard Ajami, a layup by Jake Suardini, a three-pointer by Tyler Kazmierkoski and a dunk by Kyle Greene. NMU quickly had the lead up to 11 points at 13:59 when Ajami hit another jumper. The ‘Cats largest lead of the half was a 13-point cushion at 36-23 with 1:25 left on a jumper by Ajami. Ajami had 10 points at the intermission.
NMU had back-to-back baskets to begin the second half. Kazmierkoski had a tip-in before a dunk by Greene at 18:22 for the 40-25 lead. About four minutes later the ‘Cats had the lead up to 17 points on a layup by Greene. NMU went on an 8-0 run over a seven minute span in the half. The run was capped off by two free throws by Darren Jones as the ‘Cats held a 54-31 lead with a little over five minutes left in the game. WSU chipped away at the lead and quickly had it down to single digits. The Warriors hit back-to-back three-pointers to have the score down to 59-54. Mike Polfus made both of his free throws with one tick left on the clock to secure the win for the ‘Cats.
Each side shot in the 40 percent range for the game. NMU was 24-52 for 46.2 percent while WSU was 21-51 for 41.2 percent. Kazmierkoski made both three-pointers on the day for the ‘Cats. As a team NMU was 2-19 from the three-point line (10.5 percent). The ‘Cats were 11-16 from the free throw line (68.8 percent). WSU had a slight edge on the boards at 34-32.
Suardini ended the game leading the ‘Cats in the scoring column with 13 points. Ajami added 12 while Kazmierkoski had 10 points. Greene ended the game with a team-high 10 rebounds, eight points and three steals. Suardini added six assists in the win. Jason Saddler led the Warriors with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
NMU will be back in action again on Sunday (Jan. 19) against Hillsdale College at the Berry Events Center at 4 p.m.
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Sports Information Director