Strong Second Half Powers NMU to Victory

Strong Second Half Powers NMU to Victory

MARQUETTE, Mich. – A 12-1 second half run powered Northern Michigan University's Men's Basketball team to outscore Davenport University 44-31 in the second half  and defeat the Panthers 77-73 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action. 

Junior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) led the Wildcats with 26 points, hitting four three-pointers in the process.  Junior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) added 23 points. 

Sophomore Will Carius (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) chipped in with 14 and led the team with eight rebounds, while senior Jordan Perez (Greendale, Wis.) posted 12.

After the Panthers missed a three to start the game, Johnson found Carius streaking down the court for a fast break dunk.  The guests then tied the game and eventually took a 17-9 lead just over three minutes into the game.  A layup by Echols ended the run, and he soon added two free throws to make it 17-12 at the 14:12 mark. 

DU answered with back-to-back threes to move ahead by 11 points.  Carius hit a jumper, then Perez followed a Panther basketball with two layups to move the score to 25-20.  A three-point play by the guests, followed by a Perez three made it 28-23 ten minutes into the game. 

The Panthers added a jumper to move back ahead by seven, but Echols responded with back-to-back threes to make it a 32-31 game with six minutes left in the half.  DU answered with two free throws, then hit two-straight threes to move back on top, 40-31.  To close out the half, the teams traded layups to make it 42-33 entering halftime. 

NMU came out of the half with a jumper from Johnson and a layup by Echols, but five points from DU made it a 47-37 game.  The Wildcats responded by going on a 12-1 run.  Johnson scored five points, then Carius hit a jumper followed by an Echols basket.  Johnson followed with a layup to give NMU a 49-48 lead at the 13:24 mark.

The teams traded baskets and leads until Echols hit back-to-back threes again to move NMU on top 57-52 at the ten-minute mark.  The Panthers chipped away at the lead, getting to 61-60 with 6:15 left.  Echols hit a free throw, but DU answered with a jumper to tie the game, with four minutes to play. 

DU soon took a 67-64 lead with a three, but Johnson responded with two free throws. Echols then answered a Panther jumper with two more free throws.  Two DU free throws made it 71-68, but Johnson scored again to make it 71-70 with just over two minutes left.  DU followed with two more free throws before a timeout to make it 73-70 with 1:46 to play. 

Carius made an old-fashioned three-pointer out of the timeout, tying the game for the sixth time, making the score 73-73. He then hit two free throws after a steal by sophomore Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill./Thornton) to give NMU back the lead, 75-73 with 29 seconds remaining.  Echols and Taylor closed out the game with a free throw each to give NMU the 77-73 victory.

With the win, NMU is now guaranteed their first winning season since 2007-08, moving their overall record to 15-11, and GLIAC record to 12-7.  Davenport fell to 12-15 overall, 6-13 in the league.  The Wildcats return to action Saturday afternoon to host Wayne State University on Senior Day, where the team will honor Perez prior to the game.  NMU will clinch a home GLIAC Tournament game with a win over the Warriors.   

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