NORTH CANTON, Ohio – Northern Michigan University men’s basketball (3-4, 1-0 GLIAC) jumped out to a 38-24 halftime lead and were able to hold on late with a final of 70-61 in their Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener. The Wildcats shot 27-56 (.482) from the field in the contest and the bench for NMU performed well outscoring the Walsh bench 37-5. The loss drops Walsh to 4-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
NMU found themselves with a slight advantage in the opening part of the first half at 20-19 with 10:06 remaining. A three-pointer from freshman guard Jordan Perez ignited the Wildcat offense as NMU went on to outscore the Cavaliers 18-5 the remainder of the half. The strong finish to the first half gave Northern Michigan a 38-24 lead heading into the locker room.
Perez had a game-high 11 points off the bench in the opening frame as NMU shot 14-30 (.467) including 5-10 (.500) from beyond the arc.
The opening minutes of the second half saw each team go back-and-forth but the Wildcats were able to hold a 50-39 edge after a bucket from junior guard Ethan Blackwell.
The Cavaliers then chipped away at the NMU lead with a 15-6 run that cut the Northern Michigan lead down to two with a score of 56-54 and 6:02 remaining in the contest.
Northern Michigan had an answer, however, scoring the next six points to extend their lead back out to a comfortable 62-54 score with 2:57 left to play.
The Wildcats were then able to close out the game strong shooting 4-5 from the free-throw line and making a pair of baskets to put the final score at 70-61.
Sophomore guard Marcus Hall and Perez each scored 11 points to lead the Wildcats, while junior guard Terry Nash and sophomore Brett Branstrom each chipped in 10 points apiece. Nash also added six assists and seven rebounds in the victory for NMU.
Northern Michigan closes out the opening weekend of GLIAC play at Malone Saturday, Dec. 6 for a 3 p.m. tip.