SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Akaemji Williams sank a layup with just 1.3 seconds left on the clock to lift Lake Superior State to a 69-67 victory over the Northern Michigan men's basketball team Thursday night.
With 16 seconds remaining, Naba Echols made a layup and drew a foul. By completing the three-point play with his free throw, he evened the score at 67. But Williams kept the Lakers from going to overtime by using a crossover to get free and then draining a one-handed shot.
Lake Superior State regrouped, drawing within one, at 14-13, with 11:16 to play in the half. But the Wildcats answered with a 9-2 run that gave them a 23-15 advantage by the 6:35 mark.
In the final four minutes of the half, Northern Michigan outscored the Lakers, 12-8. With 18 seconds left in the half, an Echols layup gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game, at 35-25. Jordan Dasuqi made a layup seven seconds later to trim the Northern Michigan advantage to eight going into the intermission.
By the 10:10 mark of the second half, the Lakers had taken the lead, at 47-46. From that point on, the teams traded baskets, and neither could pull ahead by more than three until there was less than two minutes remaining.
With 1:53 to play, Williams was fouled while making a layup and sank his free throw to give Lake Superior State a 64-59 lead. Josh Goldschmidt then made one of his two free throws to put the Lakers up by six points.
But Northern Michigan roared back. First, Echols made two free throws with 1:06 left to play to draw the Wildcats within two baskets. Then, he found Isaiah Johnson for a three-point shot on their next possession to narrow the gap to one point with 34 seconds on the clock.
Northern Michigan fouled Goldschmidt to stop the clock at 27 seconds, and he sank both of his free throws. That set up Echols' big three-point play, though Williams ultimately played hero.
Taylor led the Wildcats with a career-high 21 points. Perez (16), Echols (14) and Johnson (11) also scored in the double digits. Johnson and Echols each dished out three assists while finishing first (8) and second on the team (7) in rebounds.
Lake Superior State's Michael Nicholson had a double double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Williams tied Taylor for the game-best total in points.
Northern Michigan shot 42.2 percent from the floor, 35.7 from three and 100.0 from the free-throw line.
The Wildcats, now 6-14 (4-11 GLIAC), wrap up their road swing by facing Northwood on Saturday at 3 p.m.