GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team officially opened up its 2009-10 basketball season Wednesday night. NMU took on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix. The Wildcats flirted with the Phoenix for a while even holding an eight-point lead in the second, but in the end fell to the NCAA Division I team by a score of 70-64.
UW-Green Bay improves to 4-1 on the season while the ‘Cats are 0-1.
Raymont McElroy converted a four-point play early in the game to give the ‘Cats an 8-2 lead. From there the two teams exchanged basket with neither team taking control. With the score tie at 14-all at the 11 minute mark of the first half the ‘Cats went on a 12-5 run to take a 26-19 lead. Marc Renelique caned two three-pointer in the run for the ‘Cats. With a little over four minutes left in the first half the ‘Cats still had a seven-point lead (30-23) thanks to Renelique’s jumper. UW-Green Bay outscored the ‘Cats the rest of the half 9-2 as the score was 32-all after 20 minutes of play.
Jared Benson scored the first two baskets of the second half on tip-ins for a 36-32 NMU lead about a minute into the half. When Renelique made his three-pointer at 17:02 the ‘Cats had its biggest lead of the game at 46-38. The Phoenix tied the game at 49-all before briefly taking the lead. NMU took the lead over again on back-to-back baskets by Benson and McElroy for a 56-53 score (7:35). UW-Green Bay tied the score at 56-all with less than six minutes left in the game. Renelique tied the game at 59-all with 4:03 left in the contest on a three-pointer. The Phoenix scored a basketball before Chris Warner made one of his two free throws with less than three minutes showing on the clock for a 60-all score. UW-Green Bay scored five points in a row for a 65-60 lead with 1:47 left in the game. Eric Hawley and McElroy kept the ‘Cats close with baskets with seconds left in the game (66-64). UW-Green Bay ended the game with four consecutive points for the final score.
NMU shot better from the floor than the home team. The ‘Cats were 26-51 (51 percent) while UW-Green Bay was 26-56 (44.6 percent). Even from the three-point line the ‘Cats shot over 50 percent as the team was 9-17 (52.9 percent). NMU only made eight trips to the free throw line and converted three of the throws (37.5 percent). The battle along the boards was even at 33 for each side. NMU recorded 10 offensive rebounds while the Phoenix had 16. Turnovers were costly for the ‘Cats as they ended the game with 16.
Renelique led all scorers with 23 points. He was 8-16 from the floor which included 7-10 from beyond the arc. McElroy was the only other ‘Cat in double-figures with 16 points. Troy Cotton and Rahmon Fletcher each had 19 points for the Phoenix.
NMU will now come home and play five consecutive games. First up is a game next week against Northland College (Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m.).
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Sports Information Director