SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball team visited Lake Superior State University Saturday afternoon and closed the game on an 8-2 run to capture a 73-68 victory in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action.
| STAT LEADERS
Senior Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) led the way with 26 points, including 8-8 from the free throw line. He also grabbed seven rebounds. Senior Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn.) chipped in with 22 points along with three assists and three steals.
Junior Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls, Mich.) finished the game with a career-high eight rebounds to lead the team.
As a team, NMU scored 11 second chance points and didn't allow any from LSSU. The Wildcats also outscored the Lakers in the paint, 38-30.
| A QUICK START
Echols scored the first points of the game but LSSU quickly answered. Summers then followed with a score but the Lakers responded with two baskets before Summers dunked then made a layup to give NMU an 8-6 lead at the 16:41 mark.
After a Lakers free throw, Johnson made a layup and three-pointer to put NMU up 13-7. The Lakers made a three which Echols answered with back-to-back threes to move NMU up 19-10 with 13:24 on the clock.
| FINISHING THE HALF
LSSU responded with six points but sophomore Alec Fruin (Beloit, Wis.) made a layup to make it 21-16 with 11:44 to play in the half. The hosts then took a 22-21 lead before Echols hit another three-pointer to give the Wildcats back a 24-22 lead.
With seven minutes to go, Johnson sank two free throws but the Lakers answered with a layup. Echols then hit a layup of his own and Johnson answered an LSSU free throw to make the score 30-25 with 5:25 on the clock.
The Lakers rebounded to take a 35-30 lead with 1:24 left in the first half, but Summers made two free throws. The Lakers answered with a score before Johnson dunked then Howard added two free throws and Fruin added one to tie the score at 37-37 going into the break.
| GET THE SECOND HALF GOING
Howard made a layup and Summers made two free throws to open the second half but a three and a dunk from LSSU gave them a 42-41 lead with 17:22 on the clock. Echols tied it with a free throw then Howard dunked again after an LSSU bucket to tie it again at 44-44.
LSSU took back a lead with a basket before Johnson sank two more free throw but the Lakers answered with a layup, which Johnson followed with a layup of his own to tied it again, this time at 48-48 with 13:44 on the clock.
The teams continued to trade baskets and the score was again tied at 53-53 when Johnson made a three at the 11:40 mark. LSSU was able to follow with four points before Echols made a layup. The hosts responded with a three which Summers followed with a layup. After another Laker basket, Johnson made two free throws and Echols made a jumper and made it 62-61 with 7:56 to play.
| GETTING THE WIN
Howard then extended the lead with a put back layup after he blocked a shot on the defensive end to make it 69-66 with NMU leading with 2:26 left. The Wildcats defense kept LSSU from scoring on their next possession. With NMU having the ball, Johnson collected an offensive rebound and then was fouled and made two free throws to move the lead up to 71-66 with less than a minute to go.
The Lakers added two free throws with 45 seconds remaining to make the NMU lead 71-68. NMU missed on their next offensive possession to give the Lakers a chance, but their three-point attempt was missed and Summers grabbed the defensive rebound and was fouled with one second on the clock to send him to the free throw line for the one and one opportunity.
Summers made both free throws to seal the win with a 73-68 victory. The victory ends a 12-game losing streak to the Lakers that dates back to the 2012-13 season.
| UP NEXT
NMU improves to 15-9 on the season and are now 10-7 in the GLIAC while LSSU falls to 13-10 overall and 9-8 in the conference. The Wildcats are tied for second in the North Division with University of Wisconsin-Parkside and one game back of division leader Ferris State University. They are also now tied for the fourth seed in the GLIAC Tournament and a chance to host a quarterfinals matchup. The Wildcats will return to action Thursday night to take on Grand Valley State University then head to GLIAC leader Davenport University Saturday afternoon.