M Basketball: NMU dominates Tech 90-65, Falls to GVST snapping 8-game win streak


Dallas Wiertella/NW

LOOK AHEAD – Star guard Max Bjorklund led all scorers with 22 points in the win over Tech. Bjorklund is also on the Bevo Francis award top-100 watchlist.

Chris Anderson

Northern Michigan University’s men’s basketball’s first matchup of the season with longtime rival Michigan Tech, took place in the Berry Events Center last Saturday with a crowd of 1,169 fans in attendance. The Wildcats dominated the final 15 minutes of the second half to come up with a 90-65 victory over the Huskies. Star guard Max Bjorklund led the ‘Cats with 22 points and added three assists and two steals.

“I thought it was a great crowd … it felt like everyone was into it,” Head Coach Matt Majkrzak said. “That was the most pressure I think we’ve had on us again since I’ve been here … you’re playing a rival. You have a lot at stake.”

The Huskies were able to cut the 11-point halftime lead to six early in the second half, but NMU forwards Dylan Kuehl and Sam Schultz combined for eight points on three consecutive possessions pushing the lead back to 13. After that the ‘Cats completely took over and won the match by 25, tying the largest margin of victory in their rivalry.

“That was the most locked in this we have been all year. I thought we dialed in, competed, wanted to win, followed all the game plan stuff offensively and defensively,” Majkrzak said.

Kuehl, who is continuing to get better after an injury sidelined him last season, is looking like a second star on a Wildcat roster that has a plethora of young talent. The freshman forward had a 19-point, 17- rebound double-double on the night while shooting 80% overall from the field.

“[I am] really proud of him, really happy for him. And again, I’m hoping this is just a normal progression and you see a lot more games like that … that was just one of many, even this year,” Majkrzak said.

NMU held the Huskies to 40.7% from the field and limited Tech to just five total assists on the night. Wildcat freshman Max Weisbrod, who is yet another talent emerging for NMU this season, added 14 points, five assists and seven rebounds, matching the Huskies in the assist column.

Majkrzak believes that the team followed what they had practiced leading up to the much-anticipated matchup and that showed in the 90-65 victory. The team is riding an eight-game win streak into the upcoming weekend as they look to build the momentum.

“Historically, this is the toughest weekend [coming up]. If you go back to when I first got here, there’s these two teams that are always up and in the top of the league,” Majkrzak said.

The first of the matchups this week was against Grand Valley State this Thursday Jan. 19 and NMU blew a 9-point lead halfway through the second half and lost the matchup 82-77. The ‘Cats will look to bounce back against Davenport on Saturday Jan. 21st at 1 p.m. The two teams are low in the conference this year, but coach Majkrzak understands that these are two teams you can never underestimate.

“If you keep playing as well as we are, we have a decent chance of winning. We also know these two teams aren’t coming in here to lose, and they’re both going to be very tough, very good and very athletic,” Majkrzak said. “We are just going to have to do what we do, hopefully be better than what they do.”