ASHLAND, Ohio. – Despite a tightly contested first half, the Northern Michigan men's basketball team was unable to erase a significant deficit down the stretch, falling 87-79 at Ashland this afternoon (Feb. 18).
With the loss, NMU falls to 8-16 on the season and 4-13 in the GLIAC. The Wildcats have now dropped eight straight conference games. The Eagles improve to 15-10 on the season and 10-8 in the GLIAC.
Ashland grabbed the early 5-0 lead less than one minute into the game when Jordan Berlin drove in the paint for the layup. NMU marched back with an 8-3 run when senior center Jared Benson sank a long ball by way of junior forward TJ Cameron.
The 'Cats would go on to take their first lead of the contest when freshman guard Quinten Calloway nailed a three-pointer on the fastbreak, putting NMU up 13-11 with 15:20 left on the clock. NMU continued to build upon its lead, holding a five point edge at one point before Ashland slammed the door abruptly on the 'Cats. Trailing 19-14, the Eagles went on a 9-0 run over a two minute stretch to secure a lead for good. Ashland went into the break up 45-36.
NMU utilized early trips to line in the second half to chip away at Ashland's growing lead but was unable to put together a sizable run. Fouls also proved costly for the 'Cats down the stretch as the Eagles made 36 trips to the free throw line, connecting on 25 attempts, compared to only 19 trips for NMU.
NMU was led by senior guard Taylor with 20 points and eight rebounds. Taylor paced five 'Cats in double-figures. Freshman Haki Stampley also netted 14 points, while Benson inched closer to his 1,000th point with 13 points and seven rebounds.
The Eagles were guided by Evan Yates with 24 points and seven boards.
NMU shot 41.2 percent (28-for-68) from the floor and 33.3 percent (8-for-24) from long range.
Ashland held a plus four advantage on the glass, edging NMU 38-34.
NMU returns home next week to close out the regular season. The 'Cats host Northwood on Thursday, Feb. 24. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Next week's action will be part of the "GLIAC Pink Wave" event supporting breast cancer research.