ROMEOVILLE, Ill. — Will Carius exploded for 29 points and 13 rebounds in only his second collegiate game, but the Northern Michigan men's basketball team was outlasted by Lewis, 87-83, Sunday afternoon at Neil Carey Arena.
The Flyers edged the Wildcats on the strength of a late 9-0 run, which turned a 65-61 deficit into a 70-65 lead. While Isaiah Johnson nailed a three-point shot with seven seconds left in regulation to pull Northern Michigan back within two points, a pair of Miles Simelton free throws iced the game.
The Wildcats charged out to a 16-7 advantage to open the game, using a 6-0 run to build separation. Lewis drew back within a point, at 22-21, with a 14-6 run at the 9:06 mark, but Marcus Matelski drained a three-point shot to put Northern Michigan back up by four.
After that, the Wildcats took charge, hitting four shots beyond the three-point arc on four-straight possessions to extend their lead to 37-28. Northern Michigan carried a 41-34 advantage into the locker room at the end of the half after Matelski hit a three-point shot with 1:51 remaining.
In the second half, Lewis chipped away at its deficit, finally pulling with a single two-point basket at the 11:01 mark. While Isaiah Johnson hit a free throw to put the Wildcats up by three, Simelton found the basket from beyond the three-point arc to even the score at 56 with 10:28 to play.
From that point on, the teams traded points, until a pair of Carius free throws gave Northern Michigan a slim 65-61 edge. But a Nick Norton jumper and a Capel Henshaw three-pointer put Lewis ahead, 66-65, at the 6:34 mark, and the hosts held on for the win.
Carius led all players in points and rebounds. Naba Echols reached the 20-point plateau for the second-straight game while Matelski also reached the double digits with 16 points.
The Wildcats shot 43.2 percent from three and 78.6 percent from the charity stripe. They netted 15 points off of offensive rebounds and four on fast breaks.
With the loss, Northern Michigan concludes the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge with a 1-1 record. The Wildcats return to action next weekend, facing Minnesota State-Moorhead (Nov. 18, 8 p.m.) and Southwest Minnesota State (Nov. 19, 3 p.m.) in their first Berry Events Center games of the season. During Nov. 19's game, they will honor Sports Hall of Fame member Ted Rose.