Wildcats show off skills in scrimmage

Brice Burge

The men’s basketball team displayed their skills in the Green and Gold scrimmage game Friday, Oct. 29, as the Gold team bested the Green team 86-69.

“They played hard,” said head coach Doug Lewis. “They really pushed themselves and each other and the first thing we want to do is develop work ethic.”

A double digit win is a substantial margin of victory in basketball, but despite the 17-point difference between the two teams, Coach Lewis isn’t worried.

Junior guard Raymont McElroy drives towards the Green team’s basket. The Gold team beat the Green, 86-69 on Oct. 29 at the team’s scrimmage. The basketball team’s home opener will be on Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. in the Berry. // Mark Flemming/NW

It really doesn’t mean anything because we’re going to be one team, but it shows that one team played a little harder and a little better defense and that the Gold team played well,” Lewis said.

Scoring was pretty solid overall as Raymond McElroy led the Wildcats with 26 points, as he played with the Green team. The Gold team had five players in double scoring.

“I feel like offensively, we’re set,” McElroy said. “We’ve got shooters all across the floor.”

The biggest room for improvement is the defense, according to McElroy.

“Defense is the big thing in the GLIAC. Coach (Lewis) says this is the Big East of D2 basketball, and it’s a tough conference with a lot of shooters,” McElroy explained. “We don’t want any points inside the paint. We want (the opponents) to take low percentage shots – which is basically three-point shots.”

The team also showcased their half court defense in the scrimmage, as NMU has yet to work in their full court press, an important part of the new look Wildcats. To do that, Northern has to be in tip-top physical shape, and the players looked tired in the later stages of the scrimmage with the high intensity of their practices so far.

“We got to get better condition wise to try to get up and down (the court),” said Lewis. “That will allow us to get 80-85 points a game and keep our opponents to 65-70.”

The exhibition game was a good outlet for the team to display their skills, but also got the transfers and freshmen out in front of a crowd in a Northern Michigan uniform.

“The main thing that impressed me was the freshmen,” McElroy said. The way (they) played; you wouldn’t think they were freshman.”

One of those freshmen was six-foot-three-inch guard Matthew Everson from Madison, Wisc. He scored 13 points in the scrimmage.

“I just tried pushing the ball a lot and passing and getting as many assists as I can,” Everson said. “I scored whenever I had a chance to score, but I just tried (passing the ball to) as many teammates as possible and play tough defense.”

With the first game of the season over a week away at the Palm Beach Atlantic Tournament on Nov. 12, Lewis promised to see even more improvements with the team.

“We’re only going to get better,” said Lewis.