MARQUETTE, Mich. - Jake Suardini scored the first 14 points for the Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team Sunday against Hillsdale College. At the time NMU was trailing 18-14. The Wildcats up by two points at the half (30-28) won the game against the Chargers (67-66). It was the ‘Cats second win in a row over a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) South Division on the weekend. NMU defeated Wayne State yesterday.
NMU improves to 4-13 overall and 4-5 in the GLIAC. The Chargers fall to 10-6 and 5-3 respectively.
Jerard Ajami made a jumper at 7:17 of the first half to give NMU a tie game at 19-all. HC then scored the next five points to take the lead back (24-19). NMU scored four of the next six points over the next minute-and-a-half to tie the game again at 26-all. Ajami hit a three-pointer at 1:56 to give the ‘Cats a three point edge (29-26). Suardini made one of his two free throws right before the break for the ‘Cats two-point lead after 20 minutes of play.
Ryan Reichel made a three-pointer about two minutes into the second half to give the ‘Cats a 36-32 lead. HC tied the game at 36-all at 16:39 before taking a seven-point lead (43-36), which was part of an 11-0 run. NMU tied the game at 43-all at 12:38 after going on a run of its own (7-0). Ajami had four points in the run. The ‘Cats continued its run by scoring the next eight points in a row to give the home team a 51-43 lead with about 10 minutes left in the game. Suardini accounted for all eight points. NMU would hold the lead the rest of the way. The Chargers had it down to one with four minutes left (55-54). NMU responded with jumpers by Ajami and Kazmierkoski. With nine seconds left in the game, Suardini canned both of his free throws to give the ‘Cats a six-point cushion (66-60). HC made two three-pointers in the final four seconds of the game for the final margin.
NMU ended the game by going 21-61 from the floor (34.4 percent). From the three-point line, the ‘Cats were 8-21 (38.1 percent). The ‘Cats missed four of its free throws for the game as the team went 17-21 (81 percent). NMU did have a five-rebound edge on the boards (45-40).
Suardini ended the game with a career-high 32 points and 10 rebounds. Kazmierkoski tied a career-high with 11 rebounds. Ajami ended the game with 20 points, three assists and two steals. Tony Gugino led the Chargers with 23 points.
NMU has two more games on the current home stand. The ‘Cats face Ferris State on Thursday (Jan. 24) at 7:30 p.m. then will face Findlay on Saturday (Jan. 26) at 1 p.m.
Sports Information Director