MARQUETTE, Mich. – Jared Benson had a monster game for Northern Michigan, scoring 23 points and pulling down 13 rebounds, to lead the Wildcats to their second Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win and snap a seven-game losing streak. Four other ‘Cats scored in double figures in the, 85-82, victory.
NMU (7-12, 2-10 GLIAC) was down by seven with 14 minutes to go before climbing back into the game. The ‘Cats used a 10-2 run to take a one-point lead off of five free throws, a 3-pointer and a three-point play by Benson.
Northwood (7-13, 5-7 GLIAC) cut NMU’s lead to two with 48 seconds to go, but a layup by Benson and four free throws by Matt Everson and Martin Gross sealed the win for NMU.
“We’ve been in the last four games we just haven’t finished strong,” NMU head coach Doug Lewis said. “Hopefully these guys can start playing with some confidence and believing in our system.”
It was a battle of first-year coaches as Northwood’s Jeff Rekeweg is in his first season in the GLIAC.
Matt Everson tied his career-high with 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting including 3 3-pointers. DeAndre Taylor scored 14 points with three assists. Craggs finished with 12 points and Mylan Murphy scored 11.
“The play of Benson and Everson really opened up the game for everyone else to contribute. When Jared makes shots teams need to help out,” Lewis said.
Benson’s 23 was one short of his career-high and the 13 rebounds was a career-high. Five of his boards came on the offensive end.
NMU shot 53 percent for the game and were 25-for-29 at the free throw line (86 percent).
Northwood shot 45 percent and had four players in double figures with Bobby Lewis (19) leading the way. Cameron Joyce scored 17 while Will Bowles had 14 and Booker Stoudmire 10.
Taylor’s tip in at the buzzer brought the ‘Cats to within four at half (31-35). Matthew Cragg’s had eight at half as NMU shot 42 percent.
NMU hits the road for a pair of GLIAC games at Wayne State and Findlay next weekend.
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