Sall prepares to face former team

Lauren Lee

The NMU men’s basketball team will host a pair of GLIAC games this weekend at Berry Events Center against the Grand Valley State University Lakers and NMU head coach Bill Sall’s former team, the GLIAC leading Ferris State University Bulldogs. re-DSC_0569

The ’Cats defeated the Lake Erie College Storm 62-50 Saturday, Jan. 10 at Berry Events Center. NMU’s defense finished the game holding Lake Erie to 18-56 shooting from the field.

The ’Cats out-rebounded LSU 41-32 and outscored the Storm bench 24-8.

Junior guard Terry Nash scored six points leading the game with 11 rebounds for the Wildcats.

Freshman guard Jordan Perez led the game in scoring with 17 points.

Sophomore forward Brett Branstrom said the win was a result of team chemistry.

“We just played really well as a team,” Branstrom said. “We rebounded and defended well, and it was more of a grind out victory. Our shots weren’t falling.”

The ’Cats went on a 19-9 run in the final minutes of the game to clutch the win at the free throw line.

NMU currently has a 4-4 record in GLIAC play, 6-8 overall, and sits ninth out of 16 teams in the GLIAC. The ’Cats will face GVSU at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15 at Berry Events Center.

The Lakers are ranked seventh in the GLIAC, one spot above NMU, with a record of 4-4 in the GLIAC, 8-6 overall.

Sophomore forward Trevin Alexander for the Lakers ranks third in the GLIAC for rebounds averaging 7.8 per game.

Senior guard Ryan Sebin is the GLIAC leader in free throw points this season, making 91.3 percent.

NMU will face Ferris State University at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17 at Berry Events Center.

The Bulldogs are undefeated in GLIAC play this season with a 4-0 record in the conference and 12-2 overall.

Before coaching NMU, Sall was head coach 11 years for FSU from 2002-13, leading the Bulldogs to win four GLIAC North Division titles and bringing the team to NCAA Division II Tournament three times.

Sall said he is still fond of his former players at Ferris.

“A lot of the guys on the team right now are guys that I recruited,” Sall said. “I have relationships with them from the past, and I think last year was a little bigger deal because it was so fresh and so new playing them. They’re not only good players, but really good people, but when it comes time to go compete you have to let it all go from there.”

Last season, the ’Cats and Bulldogs split their two-game season series, with the home team winning each contest.

Forward senior Chavis Mattison said the team’s defensive gameplan is their best shot at winning this weekend.

“We’ve fought and stuck together this season, now we just have to keep pushing for the win,” Mattison said. “It’s just preparing everyday. We’re going up against two good teams that have definitely been good for a long time, but our defense is going to get us every win.”