MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team will try to turn things in the right direction this week as they will be on the road looking to snap its four-game losing streak. The ‘Cats will be taking on the top two teams in the North Division of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. NMU (6-9, 1-7 GLIAC) will take on No. 18 Grand Valley State (13-3, 8-1 GLIAC) on Thursday (Jan. 20) at 6 p.m. The Wildcats then travel 73 miles north to take on the Ferris State (11-5, 7-2) on Saturday (Jan. 22) afternoon at 1 p.m.
NMU has hit their biggest slump of the season losing its last four games in conference play. During the slump the ‘Cats have only been averaging 69.2 points per game and are giving up 81.5 points per game to their opponents.
Junior’s Jared Benson and DeAndre Taylor continue to lead the ‘Cats this season. Benson is averaging 15.7 points per game and Taylor is at 14.5 points per game. NMU has been pretty shifty lately in the line-up moving people around to find the best combination. Freshmen Matthew Craggs made his third start of the season on Saturday and tied a season-high with four 3-pointers in a game. He finished with 14 points on the afternoon.
Last time the ‘Cats and Lakers took the floor was back on Dec. 18 when GVSU defeated NMU 61-52. The Wildcats shot just 37 percent on the day and were 4-23 from 3-point territory.
Grand Valley State is coming off its first conference loss of the season to No. 4 Hillsdale College 68-60. The Lakers are ranked No. 18 this week and are averaging 78.8 points per game and have held opponents to a GLIAC-low 57.6 points per game and lead the GLIAC in steals with 9.3 a game. GV’s go to guy will be Justin Ringler who is averaging 13.7 points a game. Ringler has scored 23 points twice this season in games against Tiffin and New Mexico Highlands. Alvin Storrs is averaging 10 points per game in conference play this season and has 20 steals in the nine games.
Saturday’s match-up with Ferris State looks to be a close match-up as the ‘Cats and Bulldogs will grudge it out once again this season. On Dec. 19, these squads squared off and pretty even for most part of the game, but NMU didn’t score a bucket in the last 7:16 of the second half and couldn’t find a way to come away with a win as they went down 63-73.
The Bulldogs are currently on a three-game winning streak with its last win at Northwood (94-85) on Saturday. FSU has not lost a conference game since Dec. 18 to Michigan Tech 71-74. The Bulldogs have had one loss since that game and that was to Division I Eastern Michigan 60-76. Justin Keenan is coming off a 33 point performance against Northwood and is averaging 22.1 points per game this season. Keenan is also close to a double-double averaging 9.3 boards a game. Darien Gay is second on the team averaging 17.9 points and is shooting 52 percent (31-59) from beyond the arc. Last time against NMU Gay hit five 3-pointers and had a game high 28 points.
Ryan Beckman brings you all the action on 100.3 FM “The Point.” An internet broadcast can be found at: http://webb.nmu.edu/SportsAthletics/SiteSections/ForCatFans/GameBroadcasts.shtml
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