MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team hosted the defending NCAA Division II National Champions, The University of Findlay Oilers Thursday night at the Berry Events Center. NMU was down by seven points at the half (33-26) as the Wildcats were on the short end of the 71-66 final score.
NMU falls to 7-6 overall on the season and 4-5 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play. The Oilers improve to 11-3 and 7-2 respectively.
NMU came out of the gate very strong as Austin Rowe and Raymont McElroy converted back-to-back baskets for a 4-0 lead. At 14:01 Mylan Murphy gave the ‘Cats a 9-7 lead after he converted an old fashion three-point play. UF held an 18-13 lead at 9:56 before Marc Renelique sank a three-pointer at 7:35 for an 18-16 game. About 30 seconds later Jared Benson tied the game at 18-all on a jumper. Over the span of the next three minutes the Oilers used a 10-2 run to take a 28-20 lead. Renelique hit another three-pointer right before the half for a 30-26 game. UF answered with a three of its own going into the locker room.
The second half began with the ‘Cats scoring the first six points for a 33-32 game. Four of the points came from Murphy’s two dunks. The Oilers answered with a 7-0 run for a 40-32 game at 16:23. Murphy gave the ‘Cats a two-point game 44-42 at 13:40 after he converted a three-point play. Sebastien Salois tied the game at 48-all with a three-pointer at 10:55. Eric Hawley gave the ‘Cats a one-point lead (54-53) at 7:56. UF used a 10-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 65-56 lead. With under a minute to go the ‘Cats received baskets from McElroy a lay-up and three-pointer and Benson to make it a one-point game (67-66) with 22 seconds left in the game. UF scored the final four points of the game all from the line for the win.
Three players ended the game in double-digits for the ‘Cats. Leading the way was McElroy with 15 points as he was followed by Murphy (13) and Benson (11). Tyler Sparks led the Oilers with 16 points. Benson led the ‘Cats with eight rebounds while McElroy added six assists and three steals.
NMU was 26-56 from the floor (46.4 percent). Salois made half of NMU’s three-pointer on the night as he came off the bench to sink three while as a team NMU was 6-19 (31.6 percent). The ‘Cats were 8-10 from the free throw line (80 percent). Rebounds were in favor of the visitors (33-28).
NMU will face the Chargers of Hillsdale College Saturday (Jan. 16) at 1 p.m.
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Sports Information Director