Men look for 2011 away win

Jon Young

The Wildcats are still searching for their first road win of 2011 after falling to their rival Lake Superior State University Lakers 57-43 on Thursday, Feb. 10. The men’s basketball team held a slight edge on the scoreboard until the Lakers tied the game at 19 with 7:36 left in the first half. Lake State then took the lead and never surrendered it after that. Assistant coach Malcolm Fields knows the young ’Cats need to get more consistency to pull out close games.

“We’re right on the bubble,” Fields said. “We’re just trying to build on consistency and get over that hump.”

The ’Cats were held to 35.6 percent shooting from the field. The Lakers shot 44 percent and forced the Wildcats into 19 turnovers. Northern trailed 28-24 heading into the second half but was held to 19 points in the second half on 6-21 shooting including 0-7 from three point range.

“You know Lake State came out ready to play, ready to defend their home court,” Fields said. “I thought they did some things well. We did some things well and there were some things we didn’t do well and we end up coming up short.”

Junior forward DeAndre Taylor led the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding with 13 points and eight boards. Junior center Jared Benson added 11 points and 5 blocks. Sophomore Joe Simon chipped in seven points against his former team to round out the ’Cats’ scoring attack. The Lakers were led by Derek Kinney’s double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.

All though the Wildcats have had growing pains this season, Lewis said he’s impressed with the defensive improvement throughout the season.

“Defensively we’ve been playing well,” Fields said. “Little letdowns here and there, but that’s expected from a team of young guys to be inconsistent at times.”

Fields has also taken notice of the team’s growth during the season and said he knows the hard work put in by the players is going to pay off going forward into next season.

“The guys have stayed upbeat, they’ve kept the hardworking mentality and that’s only going to help going into the new season,” he said. “We just want to get stronger, we want to get more physical, and those are some of the things we are looking to improve over the next four games.”

The Wildcats will have a chance to build on those things this weekend as they host their last two home games of the season. On Thursday, Feb. 17, at 5:30 p.m., the Lake Erie College Storm (1-14 GLIAC, 5-17 overall) travel to the Berry Events Center for their only game against Northern this season. Then, on Saturday, Feb. 19, at 1:00 p.m., the ’Cats host the Ashland University Eagles (6-9 GLIAC, 12-10 overall) for their last home game of the season. Benson said he thinks it will be a good chance for the ’Cats to build some momentum heading into next year.

“You got to have something to build off of going into next year,” Benson said. “So we’re hoping to get a couple of wins here and be able to at least get some positive flow going into the off-season.”