MARQUETTE, Mich. -- Northern Michigan University's Men's Basketball Team hosts their first home games of the season this weekend as they welcome Northwood University and Saginaw Valley State University in the opening weekend of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
The Wildcats host Northwood Thursday night at 6 p.m. in a game hosted by Econo Foods. Saturday's contest with Saginaw Valley is hosted by Peoples State Bank and begins at 11 a.m. At halftime of Saturday's game, NMU Sports Hall of Famer, Gene Summers, will be acknowledged as part of Gene Summers Appreciation Day. Fans interested in attending the games can receive free tickets by visiting each Game Host.
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Last time out: Over Thanksgiving weekend, the team took runner-up at the Gannon University Gary Miller Classic. The Wildcats defeated College of St. Rose 71-69 on a tip-in layup with nine seconds remaining by junior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.). In the championship game Saturday night, NMU fell to the hosts 65-62.
All-Tournament Team: Johnson and junior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) were named to the Gary Miller Classic All-Tournament Team. Johnson led the team with 13.5 points a game, scoring 18 points against St. Rose. Echols averaged 13 points over the weekend, and added three steals and three assists.
Reaching double-digits: Sophomore Will Carius averaged 11 points this past weekend. In Friday's win over St. Rose, he finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the team's first double-double. On Saturday, senior Eddie Tornes (Muskegon, Mich./Cumberland CC) posted a season-high with 12 points while Sophomore Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill./Thornton) chipped in 10.
Block party: Sophomore Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill. / Marian Catholic) tied a career-high with five blocked shots against St. Rose. He is now second in the GLIAC with a total of 12 rebounds, averaging two blocked shots a game.
Making shots: Freshman Dolapo Olayinka (Chicago, Ill./Mather) is leading the team by shooting 68 percent from the floor this season. Shooting 15-22, Olayinka looks to make a large impact to the team as they open GLIAC play.
Gene Summers Appreciation Day: Gene Summers was a First Team All-American in 1965 and 1966 and totaled 1,328 points in his career. His 28.2 points per game tops the NMU record books while his number is just one of two men's basketball players to ever have their jersey retired at Northern Michigan.
NMU versus Northwood: The Wildcats lead the series 47-18 and have won the last four games. Last season, NMU defeated the Timberwolves 100-79 in the Berry Events Center. Northwood comes into the weekend at 2-3, having lost their last two games against Division II opponents. They recently took on Western Michigan University in an exhibition game, falling 88-59.
NMU versus Saginaw Valley: SVSU holds a 36-30 advantage over NMU in their all-time series. The first matchup came in the 1975-76 season with the Wildcats winning 82-74. It was NMU's first-ever GLIAC victory and the team's 75.5 shooting percentage is still the team's and the GLIAC single-game record. The team's split last season's matchups, with NMU winning at SVSU, and the Cardinals coming away with a 63-62 victory in the Berry Events Center. SVSU enters this week at 2-4 overall, defeating Division III Olivet College and NCCAA member Grace Bible College.