NMU Men’s Hoops stun rival Tech

Courtesy of NMU Athletics

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball snapped its six-game losing streak with a 59-55 victory over U.P.-rival Michigan Tech on Saturday (Feb. 2) afternoon from the Berry Events Center. The win snapped MTU’s three-game win streak and four-game streak over the Wildcats.

NMU is now 5-14 overall and 4-11 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The last win over the Huskies was Jan. 2, 2010 in Houghton.

After a one-point halftime lead for MTU, the second half was a seesaw battle with 11 lead changes. Junior forward Matthew Craggs made a layup and sophomore forward Kendall Jackson banked in a three-pointer, giving the home team a four-point lead (52-48) with 4:47 left.

MTU’s (13-6, 10-5 GLIAC) Ben Stelzer answered with a three for the Huskies and All-American Ali Haidar made a pair of free throws to take the lead.

Freshman center Matt Iverson and sophomore guard Quinten Calloway each made their two free throws for a three-point lead for the Green and Gold.

Matt Esters split a pair from the line to cut the lead to one. After Iverson made two more from the line, Stelzer missed the game-tying three with 15 seconds left and Jackson put the game out of reach making one of two free throws.

Craggs finished with a game-high 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting. He also had eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes of play. Craggs has scored in double figures in 17 of the 18 games he’s played in and has hit the 20-point plateau four times.

Freshman guard Stephen Pelkofer finished with 11 points while junior forward Scooter Johnson added 10. Jackson finished with nine points and eight rebounds.

The Wildcats shot 44.4 percent (20-of-45) from the field on the afternoon and made 11-of-14 from the free throw line. NMU outrebounded MTU 29-23 and was two shy of a season-low with only eight turnovers.

Haidar finished with 19 points and eight rebounds. Esters was the only other Husky in double figures with 13 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field and 5-for-5 from the line.

MTU was 20-for-42 from the field (47.6 percent) and 10-for-14 from the free throw line.

NMU jumped out of the gates firing on all cylinders, taking at 12-3 lead with 16:28 left in the first half. Pelkofer ignited the run with eight quick points for the ‘Cats.

The two teams had two ties in the first half and three lead changes and MTU had the one-point lead (28-27) at the break after a late layup by TJ Brown.

The two teams meet in the regular season finale in Houghton on March 2. Northern continues play at home next weekend as Grand Valley and Ferris State come to town.