Men’s basketball hosts top GLIAC teams

AnnMarie Kent

The Men’s Basketball team has built momentum and confidence off a 100-point game before they finish a five-game homestand against three of the top-ranked conference teams. The Wildcats began last week’s play on Thursday with a 90-80 defeat by the Lake Superior State University Lakers.

re-MensBasketball.Jan19.OnlineHead coach Bill Sall said he was especially disappointed with the loss to LSSU because the team played incredibly well for the first 30 minutes of the game.

“Foul trouble really hurt us,” he said. “We had a number of guys that got in foul trouble, so it really thinned our bench down.”

The Wildcats came back on Saturday with a 100-79 win over the Northwood University Timberwolves. The win marked the first time the Men’s Basketball team broke the 100-point threshold since 2012. On Nov. 17, 2012 the team toppled division III Finlandia University 129-52.

“It’s impressive to put up 100 against any division II team, but an in-conference opponent,” senior forward Brett Branstrom said. “We’re just happy we’re clicking… on offense right now.” Sall said he was impressed with energy and shot percentage the men were able to achieve against the Timberwolves.

The ’Cats continue conference play when they host the top three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference north conference teams.

The No. 1 ranked Ferris State University Bulldogs visit the Berry Events Center at 8 p.m. on Thursday Jan. 26. The Bulldogs are on a 10-game win streak, their last loss was on Dec. 8 against Walsh University.

Ferris has broken the 100 point-barrier in four of their last seven games, most recently on Saturday when they defeated Wayne State University 102-81.

The upcoming games haven’t shaken freshman center Myles Howard. He said as long as they play as a team they can defeat anyone.

“Coach uses a mantra: play hard, play smart and play together,” he said. “That’s really what we’ve been living by these past couple of weeks and that’s definitely what we’re going to do.”

Play continues at 3p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 when the Wildcats tip-off against the Grand Valley State University Lakers.

The Lakers are tied for second in GLIAC rankings with an 8-3 conference record and 12-6 overall record. Grand Valley’s last defeat was against LSSU in a 99-78 loss.

Monday  night brings rivalry night back to the Berry, when NMU tips off against the Michigan Tech Huskies.

The Huskies are also tied for second place within the GLIAC with an 8-3 conference record. The bulk of Tech’s losses come from their non-conference play with a 10-8 overall record. The game starts at 8 p.m. on Monday Jan. 30.

Every time these two teams met last season the Wildcats were bested by the Huskies. The ’Cats last defeated Tech on Feb. 2, 2015. A 67-62 victory in Houghton.

Sall said the team has developed well since the beginning of the season because of players growing into leadership roles.

“We’re going to have some ups and downs because we’re an incredibly young team,” he said. “Our leadership and the guys that are striving to keep on the right track has really helped us.”