UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University men's basketball team dropped its first game of the weekend on Thursday (Feb. 14) at Saginaw Valley State University. The Cardinals took the game, 57-51 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup.
Northern is now 5-17 overall and 4-14 in the conference, with SVSU improving to 10-11 overall and 8-10 in the GLIAC.
The Wildcats battled with the Cardinals back and forth from the opening minutes of the game, as the score was tied eight different times in the game.
With just under six minutes remaining in the game, NMU found itself down by seven points (51-44)—its largest deficit of the game—after a three-point shot by SVSU's Damon Bozeman. On the next play, Bozeman fouled junior forward Matthew Craggs, sending him to the free throw line and making both shots. Craggs added two additional points on a layup on the following possession, cutting the Cardinals lead to three (51-48).
SVSU answered back with a made jumper by Sterling Johnson. With 1:58 left on the clock, junior forward Scooter Johnson made a shot from the floor and a free throw to cap off the three-point play and putting NMU down by only two points (53-51).
A made jumper by the Cardinals and going 2-for-3 from the charity stripe in the final minute of play sealed the victory for SVSU.
Despite the Cardinals going on a 5-3 run in the opening two minutes of the game, the Wildcats led the first half of play for over 10 minutes. The lead included a 0-8 run for NMU midway through the half. SVSU didn't regain its lead until 14 seconds remaining in the half on a three point shot by Bret Beland to give the Cardinals the 30-29 advantage at halftime.
Three Wildcats scored in double figures for the game. Senior forward TJ Cameron had 13 points on three shots from the floor, one three-pointer and went 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Johnson and Craggs each entered the scoring column with 12. Johnson led the rebounds with eight, six on the defensive side.
As a team, NMU outrebounded the Cardinals 32-30 and shot 35.8 percent (19-for-53) from the floor The Wildcats were 80 percent (12-for-15) from the free throw line.
For SVSU, Chris Webb led all scorers with 14 points, while Beland added 12 and Bozeman with 11. Mike Schaaf, Webb and Kellen Smith each pulled down five rebounds.
The Cardinals shot 45.2 percent (19-for-42) on the night, and were 13-for-18 (72.2 percent) from the free throw line.
NMU continues play downstate against Wayne State University on Saturday (Feb. 16) at 1 p.m. The Warriors were defeated 67-61 to Michigan Technological University on Thursday evening.
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