ALLENDLAE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team snapped its six-game losing skid with a 61-58 win over the Grand Valley State Lakes Saturday afternoon. NMU held a five-point lead at the half and held off the Lakers to pick up the win. The win was the first victory for the Wildcats since a 70-56 victory at Tiffin Jan. 7. The ‘Cats snapped the Lakers 11-game winning streak.
With the win the ‘Cats improve to 8-10 overall on the season and 5-9 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). The Lakers fall to 15-4 and 11-3 respectively.
Marc Renelique’s three-pointer at 15:35 of the first half gave the ‘Cats a 7-3 lead. Raymont McElroy added to NMU’s lead with a three-point play and a three-pointer for a 13-7 NMU lead about five minutes into the game. With less than 10 minutes left in the half the ‘Cats added to its lead with a free throw from Mylan Murphy and a lay-up from McElroy (20-11). Grand Valley State cut away at the NMU lead until Murphy and Renelique each made a set of free throws (31-22) with two plus minutes left in the half. Murphy gave NMU a 33-24 lead with under a minute left until halftime.
The Lakers tied the game at 33-all three minutes into the second half on back-to-back baskets. NMU answered with a five-point swing of its own on a lay-up and three-pointer by Jared Benson (38-33). Chris Warner’s lay-up at 12:51 gave NMU a six-point cushion (41-35). The ‘Cats enjoyed a nine-point lead (49-40) on an Austin Rowe three-pointer with eight minutes left in the game. Up by four points (49-45) with about six minutes left in the game Benson was fouled attempting a three-pointer. He went to the line and sank all three throws for a 52-45 lead. McElroy’s lay-up at 2:09 gave NMU a 57-52 lead. With a little under a minute left in the game and NMU clinging to a 57-54 lead, Murphy was clutch as he connected for two free throws and a five-point lead (59-54). Grand Valley State had the game down to one (59-58) with 24 ticks left on the clock. After a Grand Valley State turn over, Renelique made two free throws with five seconds left in regulation for the final score (61-58).
Three of NMU’s five starters were in double-figures. Leading the way was Renelique with 17 points, next was McElroy’s 16 and Benson added 11. Toreau Brown led all scorers with 22 points. Murphy and Warner each had six rebounds to pace the ‘Cats. McElroy also added four assists and five steals.
NMU was 15-35 from the floor for the 40 minutes of play (42.9 percent). From beyond the arc the ‘Cats were 6-14 (42.9 percent). Renelique and McElroy had two three-pointers each. NMU was 25-29 from the free throw line (86.2 percent). The home team had a slight edge on rebounds (31-29).
The ‘Cats face Ashland (Feb. 4) and Tiffin (Feb. 6) this coming week to begin a four-game home stand.
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Sports Information Director