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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 WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Wildcat basketball wraps up regular season

Sophomore+center+Myles+Howard+rises+for+a+rebound+against+Ferris+State+as+junior+guard+Isaiah+Johnson+looks+on+in+a+previous+game+at+the+Berry+Events+Center.+NMU+wrapped+up+their+regular+season+with+a+15-13+record.+Photo+by%3A+Emma+Case
Sophomore center Myles Howard rises for a rebound against Ferris State as junior guard Isaiah Johnson looks on in a previous game at the Berry Events Center. NMU wrapped up their regular season with a 15-13 record. Photo by: Emma Case

The Northern Michigan Men’s Basketball team saw their chance of hosting a potential playoff game in the GLIAC tournament slip away going into their last homestand of the season.
NMU finished the regular season as the conference’s fifth seed after an entertaining weekend split, in which they beat the Davenport University Panthers 77-73, but lost to the Wayne State University Warriors (WSU) 71-70.

Head coach Bill Sall said he had mixed feelings about the last few games.

“We have not come out with a proper desire to play lately, and we’re playing from behind all the time it seems like,” Sall said. “You can only play from behind for so long, but hopefully the message across is that [in the playoffs] it has to stop.”

Senior guard Jordan Perez, who was honored Saturday on Senior Day, with his family in the audience for the first time, is looking ahead to the playoffs.

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“It was a really good experience. I’m going to miss playing here,” Perez said. “It’s not over yet. We have a chance to make a little run here.”

Junior forward Will Carius’ dunk started off the Davenport game. The Panthers countered to take a 17-9 lead. Davenport shot 54 percent from behind the arc in the half, extending their lead to 11, from two straight three-pointers. Junior guard Naba Echols answered back with his own pair of back-to-back threes, vaulting NMU ahead of the Panthers 32-31. However, the Panthers closed on an 8-0 run to head into halftime up 42-33.

The second half opened with a 12-1 NMU run to take back the lead, 49-48. Junior guard/forward Isaiah Johnson scored on a nifty layup down the lane to energize a raucous Berry Events Center crowd. Davenport pulled within three points with 1:46 remaining. A clutch steal by sophomore guard Sam Taylor with 29 seconds remaining set up a game-clinching free throw after a Davenport foul. The Wildcats closed out the game to win 77-73.

Echols led NMU with 26 points, while Johnson chipped in 23.
“We kinda overlooked this team. They weren’t playing for anything and we were playing for seeding, so it was a lesson learned not to underestimate anyone,” Echols said.

On Senior Day, the Warriors jumped out to a 13-4 lead early in the first half. The Wildcats rallied behind three pointers from Carius, Johnson, and sophomore guard Marcus Matelski, to close the gap to three. NMU took their first lead of the game after another Johnson three, making it 36-35. WSU was able to keep the score close, trailing by one basket as NMU took a 40-39 lead into the locker room.

The Warriors, again, jumped out to a big lead to start the second half, 58-47. WSU led 66-60 with six minutes remaining, but a Carius jumper and two Echols free throws trimmed the gap down to one. WSU missed shots on back-to-back possessions but Carius fouled a WSU player to send them back to the free-throw line with less than one minute remaining. After missing both free throws, WSU regained possession because of a held ball with 0.3 seconds left, to secure a 71-70 win for the Warriors.
Echols led the team with 25 points, and Carius followed with 22 points and nine rebounds.

“It’s tough to battle back when we’re down by 13, 15, whatever it was,” Perez said. “We can’t keep digging ourselves into [a hole] like that.”

As the team prepares for their quarterfinal matchup at the fourth-seeded Ashland University Eagles, the team has some kinks to work out.

Sall mentioned that the team can match up with anyone, but it will be tough.

“We know that we’ll be on the road. But for our guys, we want to have this season continue,” Sall said.

The fifth-seed Wildcats tip-off at Ashland Wednesday night in the quarterfinals. The last time the Wildcats and Eagles faced off was back on Jan. 6, where they lost at home 55-54.

NMU has a 5-8 record on the road this season.

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