Matt Everson made his first game at the Berry Events Center a special one. The freshman from Madison, Wis. scored a lay-up with 2.2 seconds left in the game that gave the Northern Michigan men’s basketball team an 84-82 victory over visiting Spring Arbor University.
The ‘Cats struggled early on as Spring Arbor jumped out to a 10-3 lead to open the game. NMU battled back throughout the half and regained the lead (13-12) at the 13:45 mark with a couple of free-throws by Everson. Both squads went back and forth the rest of the half with Everson coming through to hit a 3-point shot to tie the game at 39 with 2:28 left. This led the ‘Cats to finish with an 8-0 run heading into intermission.
Junior DeAndre Taylor sparked the ‘Cats in the second half with 10 straight points late in the second half. Taylor started his hit streak with a deep 3-pointer at the 8:03 mark. On the next possession Taylor stole the ball and finished with a fast break slam dunk that ignited the home crowd.
Spring Arbor finished with four players in double figures. DJ Baisden had a game high 24 points to pace the Cougars who outscored the Wildcats in the second half 43-40 and were a near perfect 13-13 from the foul line.
Everson stepped in place of starting NMU guard Raymont McElroy, who went down with an ankle injury with 4:29 remaining,and finished with 12 points and dished out 6 assists.
The ‘Cats had five players finish in double figures. Jared Benson hauled down 10 rebounds and recorded 20 points to earn his second double-double of the season.
For the game the ‘Cats were 33-62 from the floor (53.2 percent). From the three-point line NMU was 7-22 (31.8 percent). Spring Arbor was 8-15 from the behind the arc. At the charity stripe the ‘Cats were 10-217 (64.7 percent).
With the win the ‘Cats improve to 2-1 on the season and Head Coach Doug Lewis earned his first victory at home. NMU next will travel to Gannon, Pa. to take part in the Gannon Tournament Nov 26-27. The ‘Cats will face Daemen College in their first game at 6 p.m.