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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.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Men’s basketball team opens GLIAC play at home

This weekend gives Wildcat fans their first opportunity to see the 2015-16 men’s basketball team at the Berry Events Center as the ’Cats host a pair of Ohio teams to open GLIAC

NMU will tip-off against the Walsh University Cavaliers at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3 then the Malone University Pioneers at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5.

The Wildcats enter conference play this weekend with a 1-2 record, fresh off a two-game split last week at the Kentucky Wesleyan Classic in Owensboro, Ky. Freshman guard Naba Echols scored 17 points in NMU’s opener in the tournament against Kentucky Wesleyan College on Friday, Nov. 27, but Wesleyan beat the ’Cats in rebounds 32-20 to earn a
72-63 win.

The following afternoon, NMU had four players reach double-digit points in junior forward Alex Mustert, sophomore guard Jordan Perez, junior guard Marcus Hall and Echols in their 80-52 win over Southern Wesleyan University, their first win of the regular season.

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“We really needed a win,” NMU head coach Bill Sall said. “Coming off back-to-back games, we did a good job coming out after a slow start and we put down the hammer. We had some good performances from a lot of guys, and our defense was pretty good.”

The four leading scorers in the win, along with senior guard Terry Nash, have started all matches for the ’Cats in their three matches.

Sall said the team is finding their identity as a whole but still have room for improvement.

“Everybody is doing a good job looking out for each other,” Sall said. “We’ve been able to get a lot better looks on offense because we’re getting the ball and finding the open man. Now we need to find a way to get the team to jell and get our rotation set. We’re still seeing who plays the best together and who will come off the bench and give
us the most.”

Walsh has started the season with a 1-2 record, with losses to Glenville State University on Nov. 17 and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on Nov. 23. The Cavaliers earned their first win of the season in their last outing on Sunday, Nov. 29 with a 97-50 win over Silver
Lake College.

Two of Walsh’s starters were honored in the GLIAC preseason coaches poll, as senior guard Jesse Hardin Jr. was elected to the South Division First-Team and junior forward Tyler Fletcher was named to the Second-Team.

The two Cavaliers have started the season with Fletcher leading his team averaging 20.7 points per game and 7.3 rebounds, while Hardin is right behind him averaging 18.3 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Last season the Cavaliers made some noise in the GLIAC tournament, entering the dance as the No. 7 seed and upsetting the No. 2 seeded Michigan Tech Huskies on the road. The coaches poll had Walsh finishing third in the South Division this season.

Despite a last-place projection in the GLIAC preseason coaches poll, Malone heads north this weekend with a 3-1 overall record and is  coming off a 107-71 win over Silver Lake on Saturday, Nov. 28 in Canton, Ohio.

The Pioneers will take on the Michigan Tech Huskies in Houghton Thursday night before heading to the Berry on Saturday.

Malone head coach Casey Kaufman said the quick turnaround will be a challenge for his team.

“NMU is a very good team and it will be difficult to prepare for in one day,” Kaufman said. “Nash, Perez and Echols are a very good back court combination. In order for us to have success against them, we will have to take care of the ball, defend and rebound.”

Four of the Pioneers’ starting players are averaging double-digit points per game, with senior center Brian Stone leading the scorers averaging 19.7 points per game. Malone has a double-double threat in sophomore forward Mitchell Spotleson, who’s putting up 16.3 points and 10 rebounds on average.

Sall said the team will have a tough task facing two conference teams in one weekend for the first time this season.

“It’s always difficult. We try to stay two-days in advance so we will prep for Walsh but also have ideas about what Malone is going to do,” Sall said. “From our standpoint, it’s good to have veterans who have been around the block. Every team is doing it, and these situations come down to who wants it more and
plays harder.”

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