M Basketball: ‘Cats drop to third in GLIAC after tough weekend


Dallas Wiertella/NW

GET BACK – The ‘Cats are looking to get back to winning this week after dropping two close games. NMU is 15-6 (7-4 GLIAC) and is hoping to get to the top of the standings after this weekend.

Chris Anderson

The men’s basketball team fought hard last weekend but they were unable to come up with a win — dropping both games. After holding a one-point lead at half, the ‘Cats couldn’t get ahead of Lake State and ended up losing the very physical game 61-65. NMU was 13-24 — 54.2% — from the free throw line on the night. A full 19% under their 73.2% shooting from the line for the season.

“You keep shooting free throws, but I think the more you talk about stuff like free throw shooting, the more it gets in your head, and it gets mental,” Head Coach Matt Majkrzak said.

Majkrzak has continuously had great free throw shooting teams after coaching at multiple places before arriving here at Northern. This season is no different as the ‘Cats are second in the GLIAC behind Ferris State, 73.9%, by a small margin. Following the loss to the Lakers, NMU headed to Ferris for the second matchup of the season.

“We have had a fairly sizable lead seemingly in every game in the conferences here, and to only be seven and four is disappointing,” Majkrzak said. “I think that is the hardest part when you are trying to go from a place that has never won and overcome the teams that always win.”

The Wildcats held a 12-point lead with just 3:43 left in the second half, but allowed the Bulldogs to go on a 20-8 run tying the game 88-88 and sending it into overtime. NMU was outscored 18-5 in overtime resulting in a deflating 93-106 loss on the road.

“I thought we got a little worn down for whatever reason,” Majkrzak said.

Majkrzak will be looking for some of the players off the bench to provide a second spark and step up for the team. Although there have been a few injuries, Majkrzak has seen good play from those on the bench and believes they have the talent to provide some relief.

“I’m happy with our team. I’m not disappointed in anything about this weekend as far as their level of care or how hard they competed or wanting to win,” Majkrzak said. “I thought we did a lot of things right.”

The ‘Cats will be looking to get back to winning this week as they could potentially slip to the middle of the pack in their conference.

“You have to understand that it’s really hard to become the best team in the league, even if you might have the best team in the league,” Majkrzak said.

These two matchups this week will prove to be a great test to Majkrzak and the ‘Cats, as they look to bounce back from two close losses bringing them to third place in the GLIAC.

“Hopefully this is a springboard for us, not a low point, and I think we have the right guys to do it,” Majkrzak said. “I think they are together; we just have to go win … and see what happens after that.”