Men’s basketball team hopes to bounce back

Lauren Lee

After dropping a pair of home games last weekend, the NMU men’s basketball team will hit the road this weekend to continue conference play as they travel to Saginaw Valley State University and Hillsdale College.

The Grand Valley Lakers pulled a 62-53 win over the ’Cats Thursday, Jan. 15 at Berry Events Center.

GVSU had an 11-4 lead with 7:34 left in the first half, but an NMU surge before the half cut the Lakers lead 24-20.

Grand Valley scored 14 points off of turnovers ending the game shooting 17 for 38 from the field and 7-10 from the arc.

NMU’s freshman forward Alex Sorenson scored a team-high of 15 points and six rebounds.

Sorenson said the team pushed for the victory in the second half of the game but it wasn’t enough to make up for the first half.

“I think what we struggled the most with was the bigs getting rebounds, getting physical, that’s what it boiled down to,” Sorenson said. “From the start we needed to be a little more physical, fight a little harder, get some more rebounds as the game went on. I think the last five minutes or so we showed some toughness and  we got back in the game. We just weren’t able to finish the deal.”

The Wildcats outscored Grand Valley 23-13 in the second half, while the Lakers sit at 5-5 in the GLIAC and 9-7 overall.

The Ferris State University Bulldogs remain undefeated in the GLIAC after beating NMU 61-58 Saturday, Jan. 17 at Berry Events Center.

The second half of the game featured 10 lead changes and seven ties between the two teams. Sophomore guard Marcus Hall put NMU in the lead by one point after scoring a three-pointer with 95 seconds left on the clock, before FSU junior guard Jibreel Jackson was fouled making both free throws, pushing the Bulldogs to a three-point lead that they never let go of, escaping with the win.

NMU head coach Bill Sall recruited current players on Ferris before leaving the University for NMU in 2013 after winning four GLIAC championships as the Bulldogs head coach.

Sall said despite the recent struggles, the team does not carry their struggles to the next game.

“It’s one of the best games we’ve played all season,” Sall said. “Ferris State usually has a shooting average of 80 per game and we kept them down to about 60 percent, which is pretty big. It was a close game.”

The Bulldogs have now won 14 straight games and are 10-2 in GLIAC play.

The ’Cats will face the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 at the James E. O’Neill Arena in Saginaw.

The Cardinals are on a 12-game win streak, with a 10-0 record in conference play and 13-2 overall, ranking second out of eight teams in the GLIAC North Division.

Head coach Randy Baruth for the Cardinals said the team’s winning streak has been achieved from hard work and good chemistry on the court.

“We’ve just had a good season,” Baruth said. “There’s no secret to it we’re just putting in work and seeing the results. It’s a great group of guys, and we’re hoping to keep our winning streak going. We’re just taking it game by game.”

Junior guard Kellen Smith for SVSU is ranked second in the GLIAC for assists with 80 and also ranked fifth for steals with 31.

Next, NMU will face Hillsdale at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24 at Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena in Hillsdale.

Hillsdale’s junior forward Kyle Cooper is ranked second in the GLIAC for points per game making 21.6 and is ranked first for rebounds per game, averaging 10.8.

The Chargers are on a three-game losing streak, losing their last three games to Findlay University, Lake Superior State University and Northwood University.