HOUGHTON, Mich. – Was it because there was a full moon on Wednesday night. The men’s basketball game between the Northern Michigan University Wildcats and the Huskies of Michigan Tech turned out to be a thriller. NMU held the lead almost the entire game. The ‘Cats held a 27-18 lead after the first 20 minutes of play, but dropped the game by a count of 48-46.
NMU raced out to a 9-1 lead after almost six minutes of play in the first half. Jerard Ajami accounted for seven of the points. MTU tried to make it close several times, but the ‘Cats had an answer each time. Holding onto a 12-11 lead the ‘Cats got two back-to-back baskets by Ajami for a 16-11 lead at 8:46. After Tyler Kazmierkoski sank a three-point at 5:14 the ‘Cats had an eight-point cushion (21-13). NMU’s largest lead of the half was 27-18 right before the half on a jumper by Jake Suardini.
Kazmierkoski and Suardini scored the first two baskets of the second half to make the count 32-18. The Huskies then began to chip away at the NMU lead. The ‘Cats went almost six minutes without a score and during that time the Huskies cut the NMU lead to seven points (34-27). MTU tied the game at 36-all after sinking three free throws (5:20). Darren Jones then gave the ‘Cats the 38-36 lead. Suardini made a layup with 3:20 left in the game to give the ‘Cats a two-point lead (40-38). The Huskies would tie the score at 40 and then out-score the ‘Cats 8-6 the rest of the way for the win.
Suardini led all scorers with 18 points. Ajami, who went down in the second half with an injury and did not return to the game, ended the night with 13 points. Jones and Kazmierkoski each had five rebounds. Robby Springborn led the Huskies with 17 points.
NMU had the better shooting night by making 47.5 of its shots from the floor. MTU was 13-53 from the floor for 24.5 percent. The ‘Cats were 3-13 in three-pointers (23.1 percent). MTU was not much better from beyond the arc at 4-23 for 17.4 percent. NMU made half of its free throws (5-10). MTU won the game at the free throw line by going 18-20 (90 percent). MTU had a 20-rebound advantage over NMU (42-22).
NMU will play its home finale on Saturday (Feb. 23) at 1 p.m. against Lake Superior State.
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Sports Information Director