(Courtesy of NMU Athletics)
MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan men’s basketball team got back in the win column thanks to a huge night by sophomore forward Matthew Craggs on Thursday (Dec. 29) night in non-conference action against Finlandia. The Wildcats scored 44 points in both halves, defeating the Lions 88-64 from the Berry Events Center.
Craggs had a double-double with 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. He shot 8-for-14 from the field to move the ‘Cats record to 5-6 on the season.
Freshman guard Haki Stampley also had all-around good game, scoring 19 points with seven rebounds and six assists.
Northern opened the second half on a 13-4 run to take a 23-point lead with a balanced scoring attack. The lead grew to as big as 33 with 6:30 left after a Craggs jumper.
Finlandia took an early 5-0 lead to start the game. NMU battled back to tie it at 8-8 with 16:27 left in the first half and then went on a 14-4 run to take a 10-point lead midway through the first. Stampley scored six points and Craggs added four in the run.
NMU led 44-32 at halftime. Craggs had 11 first half points and Stampley had eight. The Lions were led by Chase Leskala at the midpoint with 10 points. He hit 3-of-4 from 3-point territory.
Three other ‘Cats scored in double figures in the game led by senior center Jared Benson’s 20 points. Freshmen TJ Cameron scored 11 and Kendall Jackson, 10. Benson, Cameron and Jackson all had six boards.
Jackson supplied the crowd with two jaw-dropping alley-oop dunks from Stampley. He had one in each half.
Redshirt freshman Spencer Huss scored his first points in the green and gold uniform when he was 2-for-2 from the field with four points. Sophomore Curtis Pettit also got in the scoring column with five points on 2-for-3 shooting.
NMU shot 55.2 percent from the field and were 12-for-17 from the charity stripe. The ‘Cats also dominated the Lions on the glass, 58-32.
Finlandia shot 49 3-pointers, making 12 (24.5 percent) and finished 28.8 percent from the field.
Leskala finished with 15 points leading Finlandia. Jonathan Moore had 13 and Keith Arnold chipped in with 9 points.
The ‘Cats get back to Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action on Jan. 5, hosting Michigan Tech with the tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. from the Berry Events Center.
Game Notes: NMU has one non-conference game left on Jan. 9 when Northland International comes to town.