Despite averaging 25 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists in the past two games and being named the GLIAC player of the week, Marc Renelique was still unsatisfied with his and his team’s play over the past two games.
“I don’t know many weeks we got during the season but there is a lot, and I would have appreciated it more if we would have went 2-0 this week instead of 1-1, so it was kind of bitter sweet,” Renelique said.
The past two games for the ‘Cats (9-4 and 4-4 in GLIAC play) were a 92-70 win over Tiffin and an 84-76 loss to Ashland.
In Saturday’s matchup AU took the lead with less than 10 minutes remaining at 64-63 and the Eagles’ man-to-man defense would hold it until the end of regulation.
NM head coach Dean Ellis said when the Eagles left their zone defensive behind they really pulled away with the game.
“They went to man-to-man and they did a great job of guarding our perimeter guys, and they did a good job at the post,” he said.
Another factor that separated the ‘Cats in the game was the play of Eagle’s senior guard Bret Wackerly and sophomore forward Kale Richardson. The duo combined for 46 points in the game, and in the second half Wackerly had 15 and Richardson dropped 19. But it was the defense that would make the overall difference.
“They (Ashland) did some great stuff on the offensive end, and then they defended real well in the man-to-man defense. I give their defense a lot of credit. They played a great game,” Ellis said.
For the ‘Cats, Renelique led the way with a career-high 32 points. The junior guard was 12-25 from the floor and 6-16 behind the arch. Redshirt freshman Raymont McElroy also netted his career high with 19 points and six assists. Junior guard Chris Warner dropped 10 points, five rebounds and five assists, and senior forward Kyle Greene led the Wildcats on the boards with 10.
Now after the hard loss, NMU will have to be ready to face the No.1 team in the nation, the Findlay Oilers (12-0 and 8-0 in GLIAC) in Ohio on Thursday. Coming off a hard loss and going on the road against the top ranked team in the nation, the ‘Cats are clear underdogs, but Warner, the third leading scorer on the team, said he is confident in his team being ready.
“We ultimately come into any game thinking we can play with anyone so it is not really an issue it just a matter of execution. It is one thing to say it, but you just got to go out and do it,” he said. “I mean there are x’s and o’s to the game, but you just got to come out and play, that is what it boils down to.”
The game against Findlay will start at 7:30 p.m. and the Wildcats will follow that with another road match against the Hillsdale Chargers (5-7 3-5 in league play) on Saturday at 3 p.m. Both games can be heard on 100.3 The Point.
The men’s basketball team went 3-3 during the break, with all the games played on the home court. The three wins came against Northland College (80-38), Michigan Tech (66-62) and Tiffin 92-70. The three losses were to Wayne State (55-65), Northwood (68-75) and Ashland (76-84).Head coach Dean Ellis said he was not happy with his team’s performance over break, and rebounding from it on the road this weekend is going to be difficult.
“We lost three home games now that aren’t going to go away. So we got to go on the road now and it gets a little more challenging,” he said. “I was not pleased at all with three home losses. We won a tough game against Tech that was good, but when you get three home loses it is not an easy thing to overcome. It is not impossible however, and we have to prove that as we go out on to the road.”