Rivalry game hosted at Michigan Tech

Ray Bressette

The men’s basketball team will need to prepare for three games in five days, as they host the No. 23-ranked Lake Superior State University Lakers, the Northwood University Timberwolves and travel to face Michigan Tech.

Northern Michigan University lost to the Saginaw Valley Cardinals, 56-55, on Thursday, Jan. 23 in Saginaw, Mich.

Junior guard Ethan Blackwell hit a three point shot with three seconds remaining in the game, but the team was unable to pull out the win.

Junior forward Chavis Mattison scored 17 points for Northern Michigan University and led the team in rebounds with 12.

The ’Cats were defeated in Detroit by the Wayne State Warriors, 61-51, Saturday, Jan. 25. NMU shot 35.4 percent from the floor, making 17 of 48 shots in the game.

The Warriors shot 50 percent, connecting 22 of 44 shots. Blackwell led the ’Cats in scoring with 14 points.

Sophomore guard Terry Nash, junior forward Justin Newell and freshman guard Marcus Hall scored 10 points each in the loss.

Head coach Bill Sall said the team gave a good effort over the weekend.

“I thought we competed hard in both games,” Sall said. “On the road, you want to get yourself in a position where you have a chance to win at the end, and we did. Unfortunately, we just didn’t execute well enough for the full 40 minutes.”

The Wildcats will host Lake Superior State at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30 at Berry Events Center.

The Lakers, ranked No. 23 in men’s Division II basketball, sit atop the GLIAC with a record of 9-3 in the conference and 17-3 overall.

Sall said the Lakers will be a good challenge for the ’Cats.

“They’re an incredibly well-coached, veteran team, with a lot of experience,” Sall said. “We’re going to have to come prepared to play. We’ve proven that if we go out and compete while playing at a high level, we can stay with anybody in this conference. It all comes down to defending our home court.”

Senior guard Derek Billing is averaging 21.2 points per game for the Lakers, followed by senior forward Cameron Metz with 15.3. The Lakers are coming off a 75-70 win over Ferris State.

NMU will host the Northwood Timberwolves  at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 at Berry Events Center.

The Timberwolves come off a 71-67 home win over Grand Valley State on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Northwood University averages 78.4 points per game, while allowing on average 73.3 points.

The Timberwolves are currently second in the GLIAC North Division, tied with LSSU, and hold a conference record of 9-3.

Junior guard Larry Taylor said his team feels like they can compete with Northwood.

“We’re confident in every game that we go into,” Taylor said. “We need to go out and prove that we can fight with any team in this conference; we just need to get the wins.”

The Wildcats will finish in Michigan Tech to play their rival Huskies at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, in Houghton. MTU is in fourth place of the GLIAC North Division, with a conference record of 8-4 and a 12-4 overall record.

Sall said he looks forward to his first game as a Wildcat in the big rivalry.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of special rivalries in my career,” Sall said. “Some coaches talk about not having any games marked on your calendar, but when you play your big rival, you should. I’ve played this team a number of times before coming here, and I know we’re going to have to prepare to play our best in this rivalry game.”

The Huskies come off a 71-69 loss to Saginaw Valley on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Saginaw, Mich. Tech hosts Northwood University and Lake Superior State this weekend before welcoming the Wildcats on Monday.

Senior guard Austin Armga leads the Huskies in scoring, averaging 24.3 points per game. Junior guard Ben Stelzer of the Huskies averages 17.9 points per game.

Taylor said his team will be motivated in playing their rival.

“I’ve been hearing about how big this rivalry is since I came here,” Taylor said. “It’s another big chance for us to prove who we really are. If we play like we’re capable of playing, we’re going to be 3-0 this week.”