MARQUETTE, Mich. – Cold shooting in the first half put the Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team in a hole Saturday against the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals. NMU shot 24.2 percent in the first half (8-33) to trail after 20 minutes of play by a score of 35-19. The Wildcats used a comeback in the second half, but it fell short as the Cardinals held on to win 74-69.
With the loss the ‘Cats fall to 9-8 overall and 4-8 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Saginaw Valley improves to 5-11 and 5-7 respectively.
The Cardinals had the upper hand the first half. Saginaw Valley was up 13-4 after a little over five minutes of play. Kyle Greene’s jumper at 12:48 cut the lead to 15-8. With NMU trailing 25-11, the ‘Cats got a three-pointer from Raymont McElroy and a dunk from Jared Benson to cut the lead to 25-16. NMU would not score another basket in the half until Chris Warner hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The first 10 or so minutes of the second half the Cardinals kept the ‘Cats at a distance. Austin Rowe’s three-pointer and free throw had the ‘Cats to within nine points (56-47). Benson’s lay-up at 6:19 now had the ‘Cats down by two points (58-56). After trading baskets, McElroy hit a jumper at 4:55 for a 63-60 game. Warner’s lay-up with a little more than a minute left in the game had the ‘Cats to within four points (69-65). The Cardinals sank their free throws down the stretch for the win.
Five ‘Cats ended the game in double-figures in the scoring column. McElroy off the bench led the way 14 points. Warner and Tyler Kazmierkoski each had 11 points. Rowe and Benson finished the game with 10 points each. Warner and Greene each had six rebounds to share the team lead. Dante Williams led Saginaw Valley with 22 points.
After a sluggish first half of shooting the ‘Cats shot 48.7 percent in the second half (19-39) and ended the game with a shooting percentage of 37.5 (27-72). NMU was 8-32 from three-point range (25 percent). McElroy was 3-7 for the ‘Cats. NMU made half of its free throws (7-14). Rebounds were in favor of Saginaw Valley 38-31.
The ‘Cats are home this coming week. NMU will host Ferris State Thursday (Jan. 29) and Grand Valley State Saturday (Jan. 31).
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Sports Information Director