SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Down by five points after the first 20 minutes of play (39-34) the Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team shot over 65 percent from the floor in the second half (19-29, 65.5 percent) to make it a game against the Lake Superior State Lakers Thursday night. In the end the Wildcats came up just a bit short with an 87-83 score.
The loss drops the ‘Cats record to 7-8 overall and 4-7 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Lake Superior State improves to 10-6 and 8-3 respectively.
NMU took the 4-0lead about two minutes into the game after back-to-back baskets by Jared Benson and Mylan Murphy. The Lakers took a brief lead before Austin Rowe connected for a three-pointer at 11:59 for a 12-11 score. Rowe added a three-point play about 20 seconds later for a four-point NMU lead (15-11). Marc Renelique kept the NMU lead at four points as he made a jumper with 10:40 left in the half (17-13). The Lakers regained the lead, 22-21, with 7:42 left. Raymont McElroy gave the ‘Cats the lead once again, 25-22, 30 seconds later. With 5:23 left before halftime the Lakers took over the lead, 26-25, and kept it the remainder of the half (39-34).
Renelique’s jumper tied the game at 42-all two minutes into the second half. A little more than a minute later Sebastien Salois came off the bench and nailed a three-pointer for a 45-44 NMU lead. Renelique added another jumper at 16:28 for a three-point ‘Cat lead (47-44). The Lakers held the lead until 5:33 when Rowe’s jumper gave the ‘Cats a 67-66 lead. Lake Superior State used an 11-1 run to take a 77-68 lead with a little over three minutes left in the game. The ‘Cats would not give up as they chipped away at the Lakers lead and had it down five points with a minute left in the game after McElroy sank both of his free throws (79-74). With 12 ticks left on the clock the ‘Cats had one more hope left after Salois connected from beyond the three-point line for an 83-81 score. The Lakers added two free throws before Renelique hit for a jumper for a two-point game with two seconds left. After a NMU foul, the Lakers iced the win from the free throw line by sinking two straight.
Renelique led three NMU players in double-figures with a game-high 21 points as he found his way back into the starting line-up. McElroy added 20 points while Jared Benson ended the night with 13. Chris Warner added six rebounds and three assists. Scott Perkins led the Lakers with 19 points.
NMU was 33-57 (57.9 percent) from the floor for the game. That included 6-21 (28.6 percent) from the three-point line. Renelique had three of the three-pointers. From the charity stripe the ‘Cats were 11-20 (55 percent). Rebounds were close as the Lakers had two more for the game than the ‘Cats (33-31).
NMU stays on the road to University Center, Mich. to take on the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals Saturday afternoon (Jan. 23).
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Sports Information Director