Men’s Basketball: NMU wins 2 in a row after tough loss


Chris Anderson/NW

AND ONE – Freshman Dylan Kuehl hits a free-throw after a tough foul. NMU heads home after this weekend for a four-game stand in the Berry.

Chris Anderson

After back-to-back losses, the men’s basketball team bounced back with two dominating wins over quality opponents. One of the losses came against the St. Cloud State team that was undermatched with NMU but were able to outscore the ‘Cats 38-28 in the second half to give the Huskies a 76-69 win over the Wildcats.

“[The team is] really, really upset, sad, mad, frustrated, but not at each other,” Head Coach Matt Majkrzak said. “Just at themselves and our group for losing a game that we had no right to lose.”

Star guard Max Bjorklund had 28 points and six rebounds in that loss for the ‘Cats. The team realized they did not play well and the energy from the team after that has been nothing but focus on practice and in games, according to Majkrzak.

The ‘Cats then turned around and beat the previously ranked Minnesota-Duluth in a 90-76 stunner over the Bulldogs.

“I thought it was going to be really positive for us going forward, especially after we got swept on the weekend but obviously the turnaround of that game came a lot faster than maybe what I anticipated,” Majkrzak said.

The Wildcats shot lights out against the Bulldogs shooting over 45% from the 3-point mark as they held their opponent to a 26.3% 3pt percentage. NMU’s Max Bjorklund, Brian Parzych and Max Weisbrod each scored over 20 in the game. Freshman guard Weisbrod gave the Wildcats 23 points, six rebounds and six assists on 5-6 shooting from the field and 9-9 from the free-throw line.

“He had a lot of pressure on him from himself really and … a little bit from us,” Majkrzak said. “We expected him to be awesome and he’s lived up to that and we just have to keep him aggressive for our team to reach our height.”

Despite all the talent on the roster in the two biggest wins this season, Weisbrod was the difference maker down the stretch for the ‘Cats. The two road wins over tough opponents will give the team the confidence that is needed in the big games this season. Majkrzak and the team have been building a winning culture that is cemented by the chemistry the team and the coaching staff have.

“Hopefully we can still learn from the St. Cloud loss more so than [letting] the one win be like ‘oh yeah, we figured it out’ because nothing really changed other than we tried our hardest the next night and made shots and won,” Majkrzak said.

The ‘Cats did just that as they have now won two in a row after the tough loss at St. Cloud State. NMU went on the road this week to face off against Purdue Northwest and UW-Parkside before returning home for a four-game home stand.

The ‘Cats took care of business at Purdue Northwest after being down 10 at half. NMU stormed back outscoring PNW 55-37 in the second half to take the 85-77 win. NMU will be looking to continue building their momentum as they head to Kenosha today to face off against the Rangers before heading home.

“It’s going to be a big challenge,” Majkrzak said. “It’s the first weekend of conferences, kind of like the first weekend of the season where weird things happen. Everyone’s emotions are high, so you just have to try to settle down and play normal, good basketball and … see what happens.”