MARQUETTE, Mich. – A strong first half powered Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball to a 77-67 victory over University of Wisconsin-Parkside as the Wildcats move to 3-1 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
| STAT LEADERS
Senior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn.) led the offense with 22 points, going 8-8 from the three-point line, while getting five rebounds. Senior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) chipped in with 20 points and seven rebounds. The duo also added four assists each.
Junior Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill.) posted a career-high 14 points and grabbed a season-best 10 rebounds in the effort. He also added two blocked shots.
The team's defense was strong in the second half as they kept the Rangers to 33% shooting, including 0-6 from the three-point line.
| BUILDING A LEAD
Howard started the game hot, scoring the team's first eight points to give NMU an 8-0 lead early. The Rangers scored twice, but Johnson stopped the quick rally with a jumper to make it 10-4 five minutes into the half. He then added a jumper between two Parkside scores.
The guests made it 12-10 with a jumper but junior Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) sank a three in response. Sophomore Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) and junior Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill.) each hit from behind the arc and increased the NMU lead to 21-10 with nine minutes to play in the half.
| FINISHING THE HALF STRONG
Parkside stopped the 9-0 run with a jumper, but Johnson followed with a layup. Echols and the Rangers both made two free throws but a layup from the Rangers made it 25-16 with six minutes on the clock.
It was then turn for Echols to go on a run as he hit four-straight three-pointers. Johnson then added a three himself to make it 40-16. The Rangers added a basket before the half ended to send the teams into halftime with the Wildcats leading 40-18.
NMU finished the first half shooting 54% from the field and was 57% from the three-point line, connecting on eight of 14 attempts from behind the arc.
| THE SECOND HALF
Johnson started the second half with a jumper, Parkside responded with a basket and a three before Taylor made a layup and pushed the score to 44-23. Parkside made it 44-30 before another Fruin three. The Rangers made two free throws but Johnson answered with a layup and free throw. Echols added a jumper but the guests answered with a jump shot of their own.
Matelski and Parkside exchanged three-pointers then Howard scored four-straight points and moved the NMU lead up to 59-37 with 11 minutes to play. The Rangers answered with a three before Johnson made a layup. Parkside then scored eight points and cut the NMU lead to 61-48 with seven minutes left in the game.
Howard and Johnson both scored before another Parkside three but junior Kenton Mack (Algonquin, Ill.) made a layup. Parkside answered with their own layup before a Johnson layup with a little over three minutes to play made the score 69-53.
Mack exchanged baskets with the Rangers who then sank two free throws and a three to cut into the NMU lead, making it 71-60 with a minute left. Despite seven more points from Parkside, Echols closed out the game sinking six free throws to give the Wildcats a 77-67 victory.
| UP NEXT
The Wildcats will now enjoy a week off after improving to 8-1 on the season and 3-1 in the GLIAC. Parkside fell to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in league play. NMU returns to action Tuesday, December 18 to take on University of Southern Indiana at the Bellarmine University Tournament. They will then take on current #1 Bellarmine Wednesday afternoon.