Men’s basketball team looks for sweep over Huskies

Kelvin Smarwt

The men’s basketball team will be hosting the Michigan Tech Huskies in their season finale at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 at Berry Events Center.

NMU heads into the game coming off an 81-66 loss at the hands of Northwood University Saturday, Feb. 21 in Midland, Mich.

The Wildcats won their first matchup with the Huskies 67-62 Monday, Feb. 2 in Houghton, Mich. NMU was led in scoring by senior forward Chavis Mattison, who finished with a double-double, tallying 16 points and 11 rebounds. The ’Cats had a 32-21 rebound advantage while also dominating bench play with a 35-0 point advantage over the Huskies. Michigan Tech is currently 18-7 overall, 15-6 in GLIAC play, winning five of their last six games after suffering their loss to the ’Cats earlier in the month.

Mattison said his team knows what they have to do to take down the Huskies.

“Our attitude will be to finish out strong and play physical against them like we did the first meeting,” Mattison said. “Our major key in the last game was to just out-rebound them, on both ends, and we’ll have to keep that up.”

The Wildcats will head into this rivalry game without their two year starter junior guard Terry Nash, who broke a bone in his foot Feb. 5, against Grand Valley State University, causing him to undergo season-ending surgery.

Nash expressed his disappointment on missing the rivalry matchup.

“It kills me to not play in a game of this type,” Nash said. “When you wish you could help out  but can’t is one of the worst feelings.”

Nash averaged 7.5 points per game and was a key distributor leading the team with 4.1 assists per game.

Wildcat freshman guard Jordan Perez leads the Wildcats in scoring this season, averaging 11.6 points per game, with Mattison right behind him averaging 11.1 points per game.

The Huskies are led offensively by senior guard Ben Stelzer who leads the GLIAC in scoring with 22.1 points per game.

Stelzer also averaged 3.2 rebounds per game this season.

Sall said the ’Cats understand the importance of their season finale, as well as how to finish strong based off their last meeting with Tech.

“When you start to circle games in red ink like we do, it’s a heightened sense of importance of this game,” Sall said. “They have the best player in the conference in Stelzer, and we have to do better than we did last time against him and hold him under 37 points.”

The ’Cats have won two of the last five games against Tech in this rivalry. After concluding the regular season in the Berry Events Center, the Huskies will host a GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal game.

Losing four of the last five games, NMU will look to upset the Huskies and conclude the season with a win.

Thursday’s match will be the final game in a Wildcat uniform for three seniors, including guards Spencer Huss, Larry Taylor and Mattison.

Nash said the ’Cats want to end the season on a high note for the seniors.

“I have to be there cheering my brothers on to get a big win, Nash said. “We want to beat them bad.”