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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Amelia KashianFebruary 22, 2024

Wildcats suffer biggest loss of season

The road was unforgiving for the NMU men’s basketball team this weekend as they were swept in losses to the Hillsdale College Chargers and the Northwood University Timberwolves.

On Saturday, the ’Cats (4-8 GLIAC, 8-11 overall) lost to Northwood 64-58. Head coach Doug Lewis said the team needs to work on limiting mental mistakes and rebound the ball better to get close wins.

“You have to play defense and you have to rebound,” Lewis said. “You can’t give up 13 or 14 offensive rebounds and expect to win a game on the road and that was pretty huge.”

NMU lost the battle of the boards 38-31 and shot 11-17 from the free throw line. Senior center Jared Benson said the combination hurt the team.

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“It was the rebounding that really got us, we gave them way to many offensive rebounds,” Benson said. “Our free throw shooting needs to come around, it started off really well but now, suddenly, its not there and that hurts you at the end of games.”

Lewis said the team is playing hard but with youth comes inexperience and that has caused some of the problems late in the game. Freshman guard Haki Stampley picked up two quick fouls with around 10 minutes left and the Timberwolves pulled away.

“We’re still having mental lapses, at this level you can’t have mental lapses. Late in the game against Northwood were down one, Haki gets a foul, then knocks the ball out of the guys hand and gets a tech and now they shoot two free-throws and then they knock down a three.”

Stampley led NMU with 20 points and senior guard DeAndre Taylor scored 10 points. Sophomore forward Matt Craggs also netted 10 to go along with his six rebounds.

Last Thursday the ’Cats lost their most lob-sided game of the year to the No. 20 ranked Hillsdale Chargers 89-41. Lewis said the slow start prompted him to give his bench players heavy minutes.

“We just didn’t have anything in the tank. We weren’t mental focused,” Lewis said. “The 48 points is kind of deceiving because the second half I didn’t play the majority of my starters. I was kind of mad at my team.”

The starter that did log big minutes was junior forward TJ Cameron, who played 37 of the possible 40 minutes and led the team in scoring with 11 points. Lewis said the junior college transfer has the kind of energy he is looking for.

“He’s a winner and what were trying to do here is bring players here with a winning mentality,” Lewis said. “You have to play every play like it’s you’re last play and TJ’s been a great example of that.”

The Wildcats play five of their last seven games at home and are two wins away from being tied for the fourth and final spot in the GLIAC tournament. Benson said defense is going to be key during the final stretch.

“We have to get everybody on the same page because right now the help-side isn’t there and we have to get everybody to read the floor and be able to see their man and the ball at the same time,” Benson said.

NMU returns home this week to begin a three game home-stand. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2 they host the Wayne State University Lakers. At 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, NMU tips off with the Findlay University Oilers.

“If were going to make the conference tournament we must take care of business at home. The conference tournament fourth spot is up for grabs so we just have to keep fighting every single game,” Lewis said.

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