MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan men's basketball team concludes its regular season at home this week, looking to snap an eight game skid, when it hosts Northwood (Feb. 23) and Saginaw Valley State (Feb. 25) at the Berry Events Center.
The Wildcats enter the week at 8-16 on the season and 4-13 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. NMU dropped a pair of games last week down in the Buckeye state, falling in the second half to Lake Erie, 74-62 and dropping a 87-79 contest to Ashland.
The 'Cats are also playing to support breast cancer research this week as they host the "GLIAC Pink Wave." The event is collaboration with the Women's Basketball Association's "Play 4Kay." The events are in effort to raise breast cancer awareness and funds to help Wipe Out Breast Cancer.
Northwood enters the contest at 17-7 on the season and 12-5 in the GLIAC. The Timberwolves have won seven straight, including a pair of wins last week against Saginaw Valley State and Lake Superior State. The Timberwolves defeated the 'Cats earlier this season, 64-58, back on Jan. 28 in Midland.
NMU is 42-13 all-time against Northwood with the series dating back to the 1964-65 season. The 'Cats have won four of the last five in the series.
Thursday's game is part of a doubleheader, with the men's game set to tipoff at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, NMU concludes the regular season against Saginaw Valley State. The Cardinals enter the week at 10-14 on the season and 6-11 in the GLIAC. SVSU currently sits in sixth place in the north division after dropping five straight, including a pair of games last week to Northwood and Hillsdale. The Cardinals defeated the 'Cats earlier this season, 67-60 in Michigan Center.
The 'Cats are 28-27 all-time against the Cardinals dating back to the 1975-76 season. SVSU has won eight of the last nine meetings in the series.
Saturday's game is also Senior Day, as NMU will honor seniors DeAndre Taylor and Jared Benson.
Senior guard DeAndre Taylor has played for the 'Cats for the past two seasons after transferring from Malcolm X College. The guard is currently second on the team in scoring with an average of 13.5 points per game and leads NMU in rebounding with 6.3 boards per game. Taylor has appeared in 49 career games with NMU, starting 44 of those. He has 663 career points and a .489 career field goal percentage.
"In my two years at NMU, DeAndre and Jared have helped lay the foundation for our program through hard work and sacrifice," head coach Doug Lewis said.
Senior center Jared Benson has been a three year starter for the 'Cats and is just six points shy entering the weekend of his 1,000th career point. The center is averaging 11.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg this season. Benson has appeared 102 games in an NMU uniform, starting 83 of those. He also has 133 career blocks, 532 rebounds and a .540 career field goal percentage.
"More importantly to me is that Jared and DeAndre are not just great basketball players but they're great people too," Lewis said. "They will be a part of my family for life and I love them like sons."
Saturday's matinee game is set to tipoff at 1 p.m.
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