HOUGHTON, Mich. — Naba Echols, Isaiah Johnson and Sam Taylor all reached the 20-point plateau, but Michigan Tech held off the Northern Michigan men's basketball team, 85-80, Thursday night at SDC Wood Gym.
The Wildcats rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second half, stringing together a 14-2 run to take a 53-52 edge at the 14:00 mark. During that run, Echols had nine points and Taylor the other five.
From that point on, the teams traded baskets. Until the 6:12 mark, when Michigan Tech took a five-point edge, they were tied once and within two or less points eight times.
With 5:55 left to play, Johnson was fouled while making a jump shot; he sank his free throw to pull Northern Michigan back within two, at 67-65.
After Jason Hawke responded with a layup to put the Huskies up by four, Johnson drained a three-point shot to pull the Wildcats within one, at 69-68, with 4:54 on the clock.
Later, Marcus Matelski sank a three-point shot with 2:41 remaining in regulation to draw Northern Michigan even with Michigan Tech, at 73-73.
But the Huskies responded with a 5-0 run to pull ahead, which proved to be the difference in the game. The Wildcats drew within two, at 78-76, and within three, at 83-80, but they could not even the score again.
At the end of the first half, Michigan Tech, now 15-13 (13-8 GLIAC), led by a 40-32 margin. With 4:37 left to play before the intermission, Taylor made a layup to pull Northern Michigan within one, at 28-27. The Huskies ultimately closed out the half on a 12-5 run.
Echols (21), Johnson (21) and Taylor (20) paced the Wildcat offense, each sinking at least four three-point shots during the game. Echols's 20-point effort was his fifth in a row.
The game featured seven ties and nine lead changes.
The Wildcats shot 51.7 percent from the floor, 50.0 from three and 71.4 from the charity stripe. They sank 15 shots from beyond the three-point arc, one shy of their season-high set on Nov. 13 against Lewis at the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge.
Northern Michigan closes the 2016-17 campaign with an 8-18 (6-15 GLIAC) record. Highlights of the Wildcats' season included their 82-76 upset of then No. 18 Saginaw Valley State on Jan. 12, their 100-79 win over Northwood on Jan. 21 and their 82-77 victory at Grand Valley State on Feb. 18.
Northern Michigan's 100-point outing against the Timberwolves was its first over a GLIAC opponent since the 1999-2000 campaign. The Wildcats last defeated the Lakers in Allendale, Mich. on Jan. 30, 2010, a 61-58 win.