MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball Team defeated their rival, Michigan Technological University for the first time since the 2014-15 season to start Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play 5-0. The 77-65 victory is also the first victory over Michigan Tech in Marquette, Michigan since the 2012-13 season.
NMU featured four players in double-figures, led by junior Naba Echols' (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) 21 points and four assists. Senior Eddie Tornes (Muskegon, Mich./Cumberland C.C.) chipped in with 20 points.
Taylor scored twice, and sophomore Will Carius (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) scored to give NMU an early 6-2 lead. After a Tech basket, Johnson knocked in a three and Tornes scored four points and NMU was ahead 13-4 with 13:13 to go in the first half. The Huskies responded to narrow the game to just a 13-10 Wildcat lead at the 13:10 mark.
Echols answered and capitalized on a three-point play, but a quick run by MTU brought the lead down to just one. Over the next several minutes the teams exchanged baskets, with the Huskies even taking a brief lead. After a jump shot by the Huskies brought the score to a 27-26 NMU lead with 3:49 left in the half, NMU rattled off ten straight points to close out the first half.
After a Johnson free throw, Echols scored on back-to-back possessions, followed by a Tornes three and Carius layup to give the Wildcats a 37-27 lead at the break.
Tornes opened the second half with a bucket and NMU was up 13 early in the second. The Wildcats eventually pushed the lead to as many as 19 points with 7:36 to go in the game, leading 65-46. The Huskies then went on a run over the next five minutes, pulling within 71-65 with just over two minutes to go.
However, Tornes answered with three-pointers on two of the next three NMU possessions to get NMU back up 77-65. The Wildcats would hold on and kept MTU scoreless over the final two minutes to take the victory.
For the game NMU committed just two turnovers throughout the 40 minutes and finished the game with nine steals.
With the win, Northern Michigan improves to 8-3 on the season, while their 5-0 GLIAC record keeps them in a tie for first place. The eight wins also ties last season's total wins and they will tie last season's GLIAC total with just one more win.
The Wildcats return to action Tuesday afternoon to face University of Minnesota Duluth before enjoying time off until returning to GLIAC play January 4 in the Berry Events Center.