HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Wildcats tied the score late in the second half, but were unable to get an advantage as Northern Michigan University's Men's Basketball team fell to Michigan Technological University 77-66 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action.
The Wildcats were led by junior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.), who scored 18 points. Junior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) added 16 points and five assists, scoring ten-straight points in the second half. Sophomore Will Carius (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) chipped in with 11 points.
Michigan Tech took a 4-0 lead until Echols hit a three-pointer three minutes into the game. The Huskies answered with five-straight points, but four points from Johnson followed by a three-pointer by senior Jordan Perez (Greendale, WIs.) gaive NMU a 10-9 lead at the 14:21 mark.
The hosts answered with seven points and took a 16-10 lead before sophomore Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill./Thornton) hit his first basket of the game. MTU responded, this time scoring 11-straight points until Johnson hit a three-pointer, moving the score to 27-15 with just over five minutes to play.
The teams traded baskets for the next four minutes, but Carius and Taylor hit layups to end the first half, moving the score to 32-23 as the team's headed into the break.
Taylor opened the second half with a three, and after an MTU basket, Carius followed it to make it 34-29. The team's traded baskets until the Huskies scored four-straight points to pull ahead 40-31 with 17:07 to play. Carius then hit a free throw, followed by two more from the charity-stripe, but MTU hit a three to take a 43-34 advantage at the first media timeout of the half.
Michigan Tech scored out of the timeout, but Johnson knocked in a three to move it to 45-37. After three MTU points, Echols made a jumper. The Huskies answered with a score, then Perez answered with a free throw to make it 50-40 at the 10:47 mark.
On the next NMU possession, sophomore Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) hit a three, followed by a Perez three to pull NMU to 50-46 with 9:35 to play. Taylor then hit a layup to make it a two-point game.
MTU responded with a basket, but Johnson answered with another three to bring the Wildcats within one point. After an MTU score, Johnson tied the game at 54-54 with 6:20 on the clock with his fourth three-pointer of the day.
After calling timeout, the hosts scored four-straight points before the final media timeout of the game. Echols came out of the media timeout with two made free throws and answered a Michigan Tech score with a layup. He then followed two MTU free throws with two of his own.
After pulling NMU to 62-60 with 3:27 to go, Echols answered three MTU free throws with a layup to make it 65-62 with 2:12 to play. On the next possession, he again scored on a drive to the basket to answer two more free throws by the Huskies.
MTU pulled ahead by seven, 71-64, when Perez sank two free throws to make the score 71-66 with 51 seconds remaining. However, Michigan Tech hit six-straight free throws down the stretch to capture the 77-66 victory.
NMU falls to 11-8 on the season and 8-4 in league play while MTU improves to 10-9, and 7-5 in GLIAC. The Wildcats will next play Purdue University Northwest Thursday night in the Berry Events Center.