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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Poe
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My name is Megan Poe and I’m an English (writing concentration) and Philosophy double major at Northern. My concurrent experience with being published in and interning for literary magazines has landed...

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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.

Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics
Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

NMU slays GLIAC giants

WINNING+BIG%E2%80%94Senior+forward+Myles+Howard+leads+the+%E2%80%98Cats+with+14+points+and+12+rebounds+in+a+67-58+road+win+over+Davenport.+Photo+courtesy+of+NMU+Athletics.
WINNING BIG—Senior forward Myles Howard leads the ‘Cats with 14 points and 12 rebounds in a 67-58 road win over Davenport. Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics.

After traveling downstate and picking up two big road wins over Davenport University (DU) and Grand Valley State University (GVSU), the NMU Men’s Basketball team is rolling.

In the month of January, the ‘Cats have won six of its eight games, and are now 10-9 overall (7-4 GLIAC). NMU has clawed back into second place in the GLIAC North Division standings, two games back of first place Ferris State. The weekend started off with a 67-58 win against DU on Thursday, Jan. 23. Even after such an impressive win, the injury of Troy Summers made a win feel like a loss. Summers suffered what was later confirmed to be a torn ACL in the beginning of the game, and will be out for the season. After losing one of its most talented big men, the Wildcats fell behind 16-6 at the beginning of the game. 

To Northern’s credit, it fought back with a 10-0 run to tie it up while holding DU scoreless for 5:33. At halftime, the game remained tied at 23-23, and continued to go back and forth throughout most of the second half. Senior guard Sam Taylor gave the Wildcats a 46-44 with 7:20 left, and the ‘Cats never gave it up again. NMU held on for the 67-58 upset victory, and it was another signature win for the ‘Cats. Senior forward Myles Howard led the team with 14 points and 12 rebounds, followed by junior guard Alec Fruin with 12 points and Taylor’s 11 points.

“The whole game was about playing confidently, taking good shots and moving the ball. We got good looks and got hot at the right time,” Head Coach Matt Majkrzak said. “Going into the last eight minutes of the game, we had a ‘one possession at a time’ mentality, and it worked well for us.”

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The Wildcats had a day off before the second game of the weekend on Saturday, Jan. 25, against No. 11 GVSU. Before the match-up, GVSU was undefeated this season on its home floor (10-0), and were on a six-game winning streak. The Wildcats were very efficient from the floor, shooting 48.1% from the field, and a whopping 46.2% from the 3-point line. The ‘Cats took an early lead and never looked back, taking a 32-25 halftime lead into the locker room. 

The Lakers kept battling back and cutting the deficit, but the ‘Cats had an answer each time, and boosting the lead back up to double digits. It appeared that the game was all but over when NMU held a 71-58 lead with less than two minutes left in the game, but the Lakers had a big run to make it close at the end. 

GVSU trailed 75-73 in the final seconds and had a heave from halfcourt that was no good. The ‘Cats survived with a two-point win. The Wildcats picked up two marquee wins on the weekend, including a victory over a top-15 team in the country. Freshman guard Noah Parcher led NMU off of the bench with 16 points, a career-high.

Majkrzak said that he wanted to see his team shoot more efficiently because of the game plan of playing slow-paced.

“We played our best game against GVSU, we were up 16 with two minutes to go. [It] got a little tighter than we wanted to but we had control over the game,” Majkrzak said. “Whenever you can beat a #11 ranked team in the nation, you got to feel really good about yourself.”

With a GLIAC record of 7-4, the Wildcats are playing its best basketball of the season. 

“With the wins against Michigan Tech and GVSU, we proved that we can play and win against anybody if we play our best basketball,” Majkrzak said. “We have the two best wins in our conference this season, and we are the only team that beat one of the top three teams at their home arena.”

So far through the first four games of the brutal schedule for the Wildcats, the team has a 3-1 record. The tough stretch continues with another weekend of road games against Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) on Thursday, Jan. 30, and Northwood University (NU) on Saturday, Feb. 1. The ‘Cats dropped both games to these two squads back in December, but Majkrzak said that his team will have to overcome the natural human instinct of feeling too confident after a great weekend.

“It is tough to play as concentrated and motivated after winning against GVSU and Davenport. We have to fight two things this weekend, the sense of feeling very confident and unbeatable, and our opponents,” Majkrzak said. “You want to be confident about yourself but you need to treat every game equally. Sometimes it is easier to concentrate against a better team than a worse team, but given that both Saginaw and Northwood beat us in our home court, we do have the motivation to beat them. I think we won’t be too far ahead of ourselves.” 

NMU looks to extend its three-game winning streak against SVSU, tip-off is on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m.

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