Wildcat men pull upset of rival Huskies

HOUGHTON – Northern Michigan University men’s basketball held off a late Michigan Tech rally to hold onto a 67-62 win over the rival Huskies in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. Northern Michigan improved to 8-13 on the year with a 6-9 GLIAC record with the win, while Michigan Tech drops to 13-6 with a 10-5 conference mark. Senior forward Chavis Mattison recorded his third straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

NMU came out of the gates shooting hot as they went 14-23 (.609) from the field including 6-9 (.667) from beyond the arc in the opening half. After a 10-10 start the Wildcats dominated a majority of the first half using a 21-5 run to take a commanding 31-15 lead with 2:33 remaining in the half. Michigan Tech finished the final minutes by cutting down the deficit to a 10 point margin with a 36-26 score at the buzzer.

The defense also played strong in the opening half holding Tech to 9-23 (.391) shooting and outrebounding the Huskies 15-5. Mattison would score 12 points with eight rebounds in the first half off the bench.

The Wildcats continued to perform well in the first part of the second half as they extended their halftime lead out to a 55-39 advantage with 11:04 remaining in the game. The Michigan Tech offense then came to life as they went on a 16-4 run to bring the game to a 59-55 score and 4:05 on the clock.

Both offenses then went quiet until the final minute when the Huskies were forced to foul and send the Wildcats to the free throw line. In the final 44 seconds of the game NMU would go a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line to ice the game and put the final tally at 67-62.

Northern Michigan finished the game shooting 23-45 (.511) from the field including 9-19 (.474) from behind the three-point line and 12-16 (.750) at the charity stripe.

The Wildcats were also able to finish the contest outrebounding Michigan Tech 32-21 with nine offensive boards and 23 on the defensive end.

The NMU bench also brought some life to the offense outscoring the Michigan Tech bench by a 35-0 margin.

Michigan Tech guard Ben Stelzer finished with a game-high 37 points shooting 11-20 (.550) including 9-15 (.600) from beyond the arc and a perfect 6-6 at the free-throw line.

Sophomore guard Marcus Hall led Northern Michigan scoring 17 points off the bench, while freshman guard Jordan Perez chipped in another double-digit performance scoring 10 points.

Freshman forward Cooper Radtke had a strong performance on the glass following Mattison with seven rebounds off the bench. Senior guard Terry Nash also logged a solid night scoring eight points and recording six assists.

Northern Michigan hits the road this weekend taking on Grand Valley State Thursday, Feb. 5 for an 8 p.m. tip and Ferris State Saturday, Feb. 7 for a 3 p.m. start time.

(Information/Photo Courtesy of NMU Athletics)