ROMEOVILLE, Ill. — The Northern Michigan men's basketball team opened its season with a commanding 97-75 win over Wisconsin-Parkside Friday night at Neil Carey Arena.
Less than two minutes into the first half, the Wildcats opened the scoring with a layup by Isaiah Johnson. Play went then back and forth with the Wildcats gradually building their lead up to 13-10.
The Rangers then went on a six-point run, pulling ahead of the Wildcats by three points, at 16-13. Sam Taylor made a jump shot in the seventh minute of play to halt the run. Taylor then scored a three pointer and a layup to give Northern Michigan a 20-16 advantage.
The Wildcats then went on a six-point run to make the score 28-21. That run was broken up by a pair of free throws by Kendale McCullum.
The Rangers took the lead, at 29-28, from the Wildcats with just over six minutes left in the half after going on a seven-point run.
Northern Michigan and Wisconsin-Parkside continued to exchange leads for the rest of the half with the Wildcats ending with a five-point lead, 45-40.
By the end of the first half, Johnson (14) and Taylor (12) had reached the double digits in points.
The Wildcats began the second half with a seven-point run that included a three-point jumper by Rod Johnson in the third minute that drove Northern Michigan's lead to 52-42.
Both teams continued to exchange points until the end of the game. The Wildcats beat out the Rangers by a margin of 22 points, 97-75.
Northern Michigan ended the game with a 51.4 field goal percentage and 91.7 percentage in free throws. Five Wildcats reached the double digits in points. Echols and Johnson led Northern Michigan in total boards with eight apiece. Echols and Johnson were both 10 percent in free throws.
The Wildcats continue GLVC/GLIAC tournament play tomorrow afternoon against Lewis at 4 p.m.