DETROIT, Mich. – The Wildcats had five players in double figures for the third game in a row but couldn’t overcome turnovers, fouls and Wayne State’s duo of Jerry Oden and Ike Udanoh as the ‘Cats were defeated by the Warriors, 69-77.
The ‘Cats closed the Warrior’s 10-point lead to six with 30 seconds to go but Wayne State made five free throws to put the game away.
Udanoh scored 24 points and Oden had 21 to lead the Warriors to their eleventh Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference victory. Wayne State (15-4, 11-2 GLIAC) is second in the overall conference standings and is ranked near the top 25 in the nation.
NMU (7-13, 2-11) was led by DeAndre Taylor’s 16 points and a double-double from Jared Benson who scored 12 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and had a career-high five blocks.
Turnovers and fouls proved to be a big difference maker as NMU committed 20 turnovers and 21 fouls, leading to 42 Warrior points. Wayne State also pulled down 11 more rebounds (42-21) than Northern.
NMU shot 47 percent from the floor. Matthew Craggs and Chris Paquin scored 12 points each while Martin Gross chipped in with 10 and Matt Everson had seven assists.
Bryan Smothers had 12 and Mike Hollingsworth 11 for the Warriors who shot 44 percent from the field and made 18 free throws.
NMU was down by eight early in the first half but stayed in the game and went on an 18-5 run to take a five-point lead. The ‘Cats hit five 3-pointers in the first half and were down by one (34-35).
NMU travels to No. 4 Findlay on Saturday (Feb. 5). The Oilers defeated Michigan Tech, 100-60, Thursday night.
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