MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Northern Michigan men's basketball team held off Minnesota Duluth, 71-65, Tuesday night at the Berry Events Center.
With 24 seconds left on the clock, Will Carius gave the Wildcats a 67-65 advantage by making a layup, drawing a foul and then draining the free throw. On the Bulldogs' next possession, Brett Branstrom blocked a Luke Harris three-point bid, and Myles Howard came up with the rebound and drew a Logan Rohrscheib foul.
Howard ultimately made both of his free throws, and Naba Echols drained two more with five seconds left on the clock, to seal the victory for Northern Michigan.
The Wildcats led, 40-34, at the end of the first half. Marcus Matelski led the Wildcats in that half, posting nine points by shooting 3-for-4 shooting three.
Northern Michigan built its largest lead of the game, an 11-point edge, by 3:41 of the first half. After Trenton Krueger made a layup to pull Minnesota Duluth within three points, the Wildcats responded with a 11-2 run to build a 35-24 advantage. The Bulldogs battled back, draining three-point shots on back-to-back possessions to pull back within five, at 36-31, with 1:44 remaining in the half.
Carius made a layup and a jump shot to put Northern Michigan ahead, 40-31, but Trevor Entwistle found the basket from the three-point arc to cut the deficit to six going into the locker room.
In the second half, the teams consistently traded points, each scoring 31. A Rohrscheib three-point shot drew Minnesota Duluth within a single point, at 48-47, with 9:44 remaining in regulation. Jordan Perez made a jump shot with 8:42 on the clock to put the Wildcats back up by three, but Rohrscheib sank a three-point shot to even the score for the first time since early in the first half just 18 seconds later.
Northern Michigan extended its lead to 60-54 by the 4:57 mark, but Minnesota Duluth again battled back, drawing back within one, at 62-61, after another Rohrscheib three-point shot. The Bulldogs gained a 65-64 lead with 48 seconds remaining after Sean Burns made a layup and Brandon Myer sank two free throws.
But Carius and Branstrom ultimately came through for the Wildcats, who move to 2-3 on the season with the win.
Carius enjoyed his second career double-double, posting a team-high 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, 10 of which were offensive. Echols (12), Jordan Perez (11) and Isaiah Johnson (10) also scored in the double digits.
Echols tied for the game high with five helpers while Branstrom led all players with three blocks.
Northern Michigan shot 34.4 percent from the floor, 23.8 from beyond the three-point arc and 72.7 from the charity stripe. The Wildcats recorded 20 points off of offensive rebounds and 28 points in the paint.
The Wildcats return to action Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. when they host Walsh to open GLIAC play.