BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team saw a 16-point lead evaporate in the second half against the Ferris State University Bulldogs Thursday night. NMU had a 10-point lead at the half (33-23) and extended the lead into the second half, but fell to the Bulldogs (64-59).
The Wildcats are now 6-16 overall on the season and 5-8 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). FSU improves to 10-14 and 5-8 respectively.
For the first 10 minutes of the game the score was tied five times. After the score was tied for the sixth time at 18-all the ‘Cats received back-to-back three-pointers from Jerard Ajami to claim a 24-20 lead. FSU scored a layup between Ajami’s three-pointers. Tyler Kazmierkoski added a three-point play before Ajami added a layup to extend the ‘Cats lead to nine points (29-20) with 4:36 left in the half. With less than two minutes left in the half, NMU received a layup from Kyle Greene and a jumper from Jake Suardini for the 10-point lead (33-23). Neither team scored in the final minute of the half.
NMU got a three-pointer from Ajami to begin the second half (36-23). Eric Sirrine added a layup, before a three-point play by Ajami and a layup by Suardini to give the ‘Cats a 16-point lead (43-27) at 16:25. FSU then began to chip away at the ‘Cats lead. Over almost a five minute span the Bulldogs went on a 16-2 run to cut the lead to 45-43 at 11:40. Suardini made both of his free throws to give the ‘Cats a four-point lead (47-43). The two teams traded baskets before the Bulldogs tied the game at 49-all with 7:20 left in the game. With the game tied again at 51-all, NMU scored the next four points all on Suardini’s free throws (55-51). For the ninth time in the game it was all even at 55, before FSU went on an 8-2 run to take the 63-57 lead, to secure the game, with 1:17 showing on the clock.
The big three once again led the ‘Cats. Ajami had a team-high 18 points as he was followed by Kazmierkoski with 15 and Suardini added 14. Ajami pulled down a team-leading eight rebounds and added six steals. Justin Keenan led the Bulldogs with 20 points.
NMU was 22-58 from the floor for the 40 minutes of play (37.9 percent). From beyond the arc the ‘Cats were 5-22 (22.7 percent). Four of NMU’s three-pointers came in the first half. The ‘Cats were perfect from the free throw line (10-10). FSU had two more rebounds than NMU (35-33).
The ‘Cats travel down the road to take on Grand Valley State on Saturday (Feb. 9).
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Sports Information Director