Men’s Basketball set to start GLIAC play

Photo+by+Neil+Flavin%3A+Junior+guard+Naba+Echols+drives+toward+the+hoop%2C+attempting+to+make+a+shot+past+three+St.+Norbert+players+in+an+earlier+season.+Echols+was+named+to+last+year%E2%80%99s+all-GLIAC+second+team.+He+also+started+all+26+games%2C+averaging+a+team+high+of+33.3+minutes+per+game.

Photo by Neil Flavin: Junior guard Naba Echols drives toward the hoop, attempting to make a shot past three St. Norbert players in an earlier season. Echols was named to last year’s all-GLIAC second team. He also started all 26 games, averaging a team high of 33.3 minutes per game.

Levi Erkkila

Northern’s Men’s Basketball team fell short in the championship game of the Gary Miller Classic this past weekend in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

NMU put their hard hats on over the weekend, playing in two close back and forth games which totaled 14 ties and 16 lead changes. The total score differential was only five for the weekend.

“I loved our toughness over the weekend,” head coach Bill Sall said.

The semi-finals were a success for the Wildcats, who took on the College of St. Rose. It was a battle down to the last seconds for another thrilling NMU win. With 41 seconds left, the Golden Knights capitalized on a Wildcat turnover, tying the game at 69. The ’Cats, working with little time, moved the ball to the St. Rose end of the floor. After a missed jump shot taken by junior guard Naba Echols, an offensive rebound was corralled, then found sophomore forward Will Carius, who attempted a three pointer. The ball caromed off the rim and bounced to a waiting Echols. With 12 seconds left, he took a shot.

Junior forward Isaiah Johnson drove to the basket as Echols took the shot. When it failed to fall through the hoop, Johnson was there with a soft touch tipping the ball in, giving Northern Michigan the lead with nine seconds left.

The game was then closed down by sophomore center Myles Howard, who blocked a St. Rose buzzer beating three point attempt. The final score was 71-69,  Johnson lead the way with 18 points, Carius had 10 rebounds and Howard tied a career high with five blocks.

In the championship game, the Wildcats failed to take home the trophy in a tight 65-62 loss to tournament host Gannon University. Having eight ties and 14 lead changes throughout the game, the difference came down to the free throw line. Gannon took advantage of their opportunities at the line going 20-27, however, Northern was just 6-10. Echols and senior guard Eddie Tornes led the Wildcats, scoring 12 points each. Forward Evan Phoenix for the Golden Knights had 24 points.

Despite the second place finish, Johnson and Echols were named to the all-tournament team. In both games played, the ’Cats had six players score ten or more points.

“We have a lot of people playing well right now,” Sall said.

Northern starts off GLIAC play this weekend at home against Northwood University and Saginaw Valley State University. Northwood started the year 2-3 and are on a two game losing streak. The Saginaw Valley State team comes in with a 2-4 record and a one game losing streak. Both teams have been losing some close games against tough opponents.

“These will be exciting basketball games to watch,” Sall said.

Northern Michigan University will be honoring Wildcat Hall of Fame basketball player Gene Summers at halftime during Saturday’s game vs Saginaw. He was First Team All-American in 1965 and 1966.