M Basketball: NMU ends season 25-8, captures first GLIAC Championship in 23 years


Chris Anderson/NW

GREAT RUN – The Wildcats end their season with a loss to McKendree in the second round of the NCAA tournament 83-93. Senior guard Max Bjorklund (4) averaged 34 points per game in the tournament for his final season at NMU.

Chris Anderson

NMU Men’s Basketball won their first GLIAC championship in 23 years with a double-digit win over U.P. rival Michigan Tech, earning the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Senior Max Bjorklund averaged 20 points in the GLIAC tournament.

“That was the start of it. [Bjorklund] did more in the last two weeks than he did the previous three years as far as legacy stuff goes,” Head Coach Matt Majkrzak said. “To be able to get us to that point, playing the biggest games and delivering the biggest games. It’s possible that he had the best career, or at least the best stretch of career of anyone that’s ever played at this school.”

Bjorklund was the leading scorer on the 25-8 team for the best record in program history with 21.2 points along with 4.4 rebounds. The team faced Hillsdale College for the first round of the NCAA tournament, a team who has made it to the sweet 16 the past two seasons, defeating them 86-81 after being down nine points with 1:26 left on the clock.

“I can’t imagine that many players have done what he did down the stretch. Obviously on the season, the 21 points or wherever they are, I’m totally fine with the most wins in school history and he’s the leading scorer that alone puts him in rarefied air,” Majkrzak said.

Bjorklund averaged 34 points per game during the NCAA tournament but the Wildcats fell to McKendree during the second round 83-93. After being down 24 in the second half, the ‘Cats tied the game 78-78 with three minutes left in the game but were unable to finish off the comeback.

“Dylan falling out probably cost us the game, just in the sense of it’s not even about just losing him. It was that we had those five on the floor for so long, that no one else had played at all in the second half,” Majkrzak said.

Majkrzak and the rest of the team are very excited to see where the Wildcats will go from here after improving in each of Coach Majkrzak’s seasons thus far. Majkrzak will continue to work with the young core and will try to find a way to become a program that competes for a championship each year.

“The next time we go back there, if we get the opportunity, I think the goal is not going to be to win a game. We can compete and I think that was the other sneaky important thing for us, is we left there knowing we aren’t far off from being able to win it,” Majkrzak said.