MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball team used a strong shooting performance and saw all five starters reach double figures to guide the Wildcats to an 87-73 victory over Saginaw Valley State University in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
| STAT LEADERS
The Wildcats were led by senior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) and Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn.). Johnson tallied 23 points along with four rebounds and two assists. Echols finished with 22 points and six assists.
Junior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.) added 12 points while junior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.) and redshirt freshman Troy Summers (Grayling, Mich.) both notched 10 points each. Howard added seven rebounds and tied his career-high with seven blocks while Summers tallied six rebounds and had two steals.
The Wildcats finished the game shooting 53% overall and were 54% from behind the three-point line on the night. They also made 22 free throws.
| THE FIRST HALF
SVSU took a 5-0 lead before Johnson hit a jumper and Howard hit two free throws. The Cardinals answered with five more points but Taylor made a three and made the score 10-7 at the 14 minute mark. SVSU hit a jumper, followed by a Johnson jumper and a dunk from Howard off a lob from Echols to make it 12-11.
SVSU managed to score four quick points but Johnson made back-to-back three-pointers to give NMU a 17-16 lead with nine minutes to go in the first half. The Cardinals responded to take a 22-19 lead, but sophomore Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) made a layup and Taylor made another three to tie the score at 22-22 at the 6:33 mark.
Two free throws and a three by the guests gave SVSU a 27-22 lead before Taylor made his third three of the night. The Cardinals followed with two free throws but Summers answered with an and-one. Howard then sank two more free throws to give NMU a 30-29 lead with four minutes left in the half.
The NMU defense clamped down the rest of the half and kept SVSU scoreless while finishing the half on a run to take a halftime lead. Johnson made a layup then Echols made two straight three pointers, including one right before the buzzer to give NMU a 38-29 halftime advantage.
| FINISHING THE GAME
Echols scored twice and connected with Howard on another lob to open the second half and increase the Wildcat lead to 44-29. The Cardinals finally ended their drought with a score 1:20 into the half with a layup but Echols made a jumper and made it 46-31.
After an SVSU layup, Summers made a jumper and Echols made another three. The Cardinals added a layup but Johnson followed with jumper to give the Wildcats a 53-36 lead with 16 minutes to go. The Cardinals answered with two baskets before Summers made a free throw.
The guests made another layup but Echols answered with a free throw. SVSU responded with five points but Summers scored inside and Fruin hit a three to make it 60-48 with ten minutes still to play. SVSU then hit a three, but Fruin followed it with his second three before an Echols free throw moved NMU back up 64-51.
The Cardinals answered with a free throw before Taylor knocked in his fourth three of the night and made it 67-52 with 8:11 to play. The Cardinals responded with two threes before junior Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) made two free throws.
SVSU made a jumper followed by four free throws to pull within 69-64, but it was the closest they would get. Johnson made another three on the next possession. The Cardinals answered with two free throws but Howard and Summers both hit a pair from the line to make it 76-66 with three minutes to go.
The Cardinals managed free throws but Johnson and Echols combined to make eight free throws and Johnson made his fourth three of the night to close out the game. SVSU managed a layup in the final seconds but NMU held on to give them an 87-73 GLIAC victory.
| UP NEXT
The Wildcats, who improved to 13-8 on the season and 8-6 in the GLIAC, are now in a three-way tie for second place and just one game back of first place in the North Division. NMU returns to action Saturday to take on Northwood University, hosted by First Bank. Prior to the game, the team will celebrate Senior Day by honoring four players.