FINDLAY, Ohio – The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team took the sixth ranked team in NCAA II to overtime in the second semifinal game of the night at the GLIAC Tournament. Grand Valley State downed NMU 88-87 and will play The University of Findlay tomorrow night for the GLIAC title. Findlay defeated Mercyhurst 77-40 to advance.
For the Lakers and Wildcats it was the third meeting for the season as GVSU has taken every game. NMU falls to 18-11 on the season while the Lakers improve to 26-3. The ‘Cats are ranked ninth in this week’s NCAA II regional rankings. The top eight advance to the regional tournament next week. Sunday night (March 4) the final rankings will be announced.
With the score tied at seven with about four minutes gone in the first half, NMU went on a 5-0 run to take over the lead. Jerard Ajami made a lay-up which was followed by a three-pointer by Will Washington. The Lakers cut into the ‘Cat lead before Tyler Kazmierkoski hit for back-to-back three-pointers to give the ‘Cats a 19-12 lead with a little over 11 minutes left in the half.
NMU held a 19-14 lead when Washington sank all three free throws to give NMU the 22-14 lead a couple of ticks under 11 minutes. A couple of minutes later, Ajami gave the ‘Cats a nine-point lead (27-18). GVSU chipped away at the ‘Cats lead the remainder of the half as NMU held the 34-32 lead after 20 minutes of play.
NMU held a six-point lead at 16:08 of the second half after a Chris Warner lay-up. Ricky Volcy hit for a three-pointer at 13:21 for a 52-45 NMU lead. GVSU tied the game at 54 at 10:40 of the half and again at 8:52 at 58. The team traded three-pointers for the 61-all score. GVSU controlled the remainder of the half. The game was tied three times from the 8:07 mark until the final seconds of the half.
Kazmierkoski converted a lay-up with one second left in regulation to make the score 79-78 in favor of the Lakers. GVSU called a time-out then Kazmierkoski sank the free throw to send the game to overtime with the score tied at 79.
GVSU held the lead in overtime for the first four plus minutes. NMU’s first lead of the extra session came with 38 seconds left on a Washington three-pointer (86-85). Kazmierkoski made one of his two free throws with 18 seconds left, which gave the ‘Cats a 87-85 lead. With one tick left on the clock, Jason Jamerson made an old fashioned three-point play with a lay-up and made free throw for the win.
Five NMU players were in double-figures in the scoring column. Volcy led the way with a game-high 22 points. He added nine rebounds, two assists and three blocks for the game. Kazmierkoski ended the game with a career-high 18 points, off the bench. Warner ended with 16 points, as Washington added 14 and Jake Suardini 11. Mike Hall led GVSU with 21 points.
For the game NMU shot 49.2 percent from the floor (30-61). From the arc NMU was 13-32 for 40.6 percent. The ‘Cats made 18 trips to the free throw line and made 14 of its throws (77.8 percent). GVSU had five more rebounds than NMU (35-30).
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Sports Information Director
March 2, 2007