M Basketball: ‘Cats take win over UW-Parkside, GLIAC tournament on horizon


Dallas Wiertella/NW

AND ONE — Freshman Dylan Kuehl goes up and over the opponent for a bucket at home. The ‘Cats will be back in the Berry this weekend for the final time this season.

Chris Anderson

The Wildcats found success in a tough matchup with Davenport for another comfortable double-digit win over the Panthers. There were some rough plays during the first half that saw a few technical fouls and a flagrant two penalty later in the game, with NMU winning 81-64.

“I think it helps when you’re comfortably ahead the whole time and … [you have] control of it the whole time,” Head Coach Matt Majkrzak said. “That’s obviously what you want, especially on the road.”

During the first half, defense for the ‘Cats came up, allowing them to have a 14-point lead going into the second half and cruising to the second double digit win over the Panthers this year. Freshman guard Max Weisbrod stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, 13 assists, five rebounds and two steals, shredding the Davenport zone defense with only one turnover.

“Obviously a lot of guys stepped up, but it almost was that simple,” Majkrzak said. “He just handled their pressure and when you can handle pressure that way, you’re going to win.”

Four other Wildcats were able to reach double digits in the game with everyone contributing to the win over the Panthers. Senior star guard Max Bjorklund led the way with 19 points and five rebounds. Bjorklund is second in the GLIAC in scoring, averaging 20.3 points per game this season.

“As we saw the next night when you don’t have that comfortable of a lead, anything can happen in the last eight minutes,” Majkrzak said. “I think the only way that you can win is to win by 10 plus, other than that you need a little luck on your side.”

The following game was Saturday and for the second time this year, Grand Valley was able to squeak out a single digit win by 81-75 over the Wildcats. NMU seemed to have lost gas after holding a four-point lead at half. The last time the two met, NMU held a nine-point lead with 11 minutes left in the second period and Grand Valley was able to outscore the ‘Cats 27-13 and take the win.

“We have lost a lot of games this year because we haven’t done something right or haven’t done this or that or whatever else,” Majkrzak said. “This one, I thought they earned it. They were better than us.”

Majkrzak also feels that the team over-corrected at half and that may be another reason why the ‘Cats were held to just 30 points in the second half. Depth at the guard spot has also been a reason why the ‘Cats have been unable to play to full potential. With Brian Parzych still out, Majkrzak and the team will be looking for ways to get the guards some more rest and find more production from the forward position.

The Wildcats will be home this week for the final home weekend of the season as they host the UW-Parkside Rangers and Purdue Northwest. NMU helped their chances with a huge win over the Rangers in a 73-47 blowout over the Parkside Thursday Night.

“I don’t think either of them are going to be easy,” Majkrzak said. “I’m anticipating two probably close games and we’re going to have to find ways to make plays down the stretch.”