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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.

Pizza Cat Vol. 3
Deirdre Northrup-RiestererFebruary 26, 2024

Sall victorious over former team

The Wildcats will hit the road for two games after earning a home win against head coach Bill Sall’s former team, the Ferris State University Bulldogs.

Sophomore guard Terry Nash (3) had four assists and four points for NMU in the 61-59 victory over head coach Bill Sall’s former team, Ferris State. (Anthony Viola NW)
Sophomore guard Terry Nash (3) had four assists and four points for NMU in the 61-59 victory over head coach Bill Sall’s former team, Ferris State. (Anthony Viola NW)

Prior to the victory, junior forward Chavis Mattison led NMU in scoring with 13 points off the bench in a 64-41 loss to Grand Valley State University.

NMU returned home to defeat Ferris State, 61-59, Saturday, Jan. 18. Mattison recorded his second double-double of the season, with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Mattison also converted a game-winning rebound with 10 seconds remaining in the game to seal the victory.

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Freshman guard Marcus Hall led the ’Cats in scoring with 17 points.

Hall said his team delivered a good performance Saturday.

“We played well as a team,” Hall said. “We rebounded pretty well. We passed the ball around, made shots like we needed to and finished the game out in a clutch situation.”

Sall said he was proud of the team’s performance at the end of the game against his former team.

“It’s amazing to say, but this is the first real close game we’ve ever played,” Sall said. “It was tremendous for our team to do what they did. I can’t be more pleased about how our guys played and how they played with passion.”

Ferris State out-rebounded NMU, 41-33, in the game. Junior guard/forward Matt Poches led the Bulldogs with 17 points.

Ferris State head coach Andy Bronkema, who spent the last six seasons as Sall’s assistant coach at Ferris, said his team has great respect for Sall.

“Northern stole a good one, he’s one of the best there is,” Bronkema said. “Everybody in our program has great respect for coach Sall, and nobody more than me. I learned a lot from him. He gave me my chance at coaching, so in many ways, I owe everything to him.”

The ’Cats shot 43.4 percent from the floor, scoring 22 of 53 shots. The conference win improved the Wildcat record to 3-7, 4-10 overall.

Bronkema said the win for the ’Cats is a sign of things to come under Sall.

“It’s not going to be long before he turns this program around,” Bronkema said. “In my opinion, from watching film, this team is already getting better. It’s not going to be long before another banner is hanging up in your gym.”

NMU will travel to take on Saginaw Valley at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23. The Cardinals have lost their last seven games and head into Thursday’s contest with a 1-9 conference record, 5-9 overall. Sophomore guard Damon Bozeman is leading the Cardinals with 16.3 points per game.

Sall said he hopes his team’s recent success will carry over to their road trip this week.

“We’ve got some good momentum here,” Sall said. “It’s incredibly tough though; the hardest thing in this conference is learning how to go on the road and get some wins. Every environment is different.”

The Wildcats will travel to Detroit to take on the Wayne State Warriors at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. The Warriors are 5-5 in conference and 7-6 overall, sitting in fifth place in the GLIAC, two spots ahead of NMU.

The Warriors won, 68-61, against Saginaw Valley on Saturday, Jan. 18 at Saginaw and will host Michigan Tech Thursday, Jan. 23 before taking on the ’Cats.

Senior guard Bryan Coleman leads the Warriors in points per game with 18. The Warriors are averaging 70.5 points per game.

Mattison said defense will be the Wildcats’ key to success against Wayne State.

“They’re a very good offensive team,” Mattison said. “We have to continue playing our offense like we have been, and eliminate our mental errors on defense if we’re going to win on the road.”

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