MARQUETTE, Mich. – Junior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) scored a season-high 30 points in Saturday's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference matchup with NCAA Division II's third ranked team, Ferris State University, but the Wildcats fell 98-84.
Echols scored 19 points in the second half and finished the game just one point shy of his career high. Sophomore Will Carius (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) added 17 points and a team-best eight rebounds. Junior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) chipped in with 15 points.
Carius hit a three-pointer to put the Wildcats on the board first, but the Bulldogs answered with four points to take the lead. Johnson answered with a three, which FSU followed with six points to go ahead 10-6. After an Echols layup, the guests scored four points, but Taylor sank a three to make it 14-13 five minutes into the game. Johnson then put NMU back on top, 15-14, with a jumper. The Bulldogs responded with a quick five-point run, which sophomore Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill./Marian Catholic) ended with a dunk.
At the second media timeout of the first half, the Bulldogs were ahead 21-17, and freshman Dolapo Olayinka (Chicago, Ill./Mather) moved the Wildcats closer with a layup. However, FSU answered with a six-point run to go ahead 27-19 with 6:20 on the clock. Echols sank two free throws, but the Bulldogs added four more points before an Echols layup made it 31-23 with just under four minutes to play in the first half.
Perez helped get NMU closer with a tip-in, and Echols knocked in a free throw, but the guests hit a three on their next possession to make it 34-26. Echols and Taylor followed with back-to-back layups, but a Ferris State three-pointer made it 37-30 with two minutes to go until halftime. Echols closed out the half with a layup to answer an FSU layup and the teams went into the break with the Bulldogs ahead 39-32.
To start the second half, the teams traded baskets, but FSU was soon up 14, 50-36 less than four minutes in. Threes from Johnson and Perez sandwiched an FSU jumper to make it a ten-point deficit, but the Bulldogs responded to take a 59-44 lead. The teams continued to trade scores until two free throws by Carius got the NMU deficit back into single digits, 63-54 with nine minutes to play.
FSU scored on the next possession, but the Wildcats continued to work and a jumper by Carius at the 7:47 mark made it 67-59. However, NMU would be unable to get any closer and eventually fell to the third-ranked Bulldogs.
The Wildcats fell to 14-11 on the season and are now 11-7 in the GLIAC while FSU improved to 27-1 on the year, 17-1 in the GLIAC. NMU returns to action Thursday and will host Davenport University in the Berry Events Center