MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – Trailing by a dozen in the opening minutes and facing the Ferris State Bulldogs in their gym, the NMU men’s basketball team stood the test, holding the Bulldogs to a ghostly 4-23 shooting in the 2nd half for a 67-59 semifinal victory. The ‘Cats will face No. 8 Michigan Tech tomorrow, March 5, at 3 p.m. in the GLIAC Championship game. The league’s leading scorer, Max Bjorklund, continued his incredible season, posting a 23-point, 10-rebound double-double, including a heavily-contested clutch three and a pair of free throws late. Freshman of the Year Max Weisbrod added 15 points while dishing out five helpers.
The ‘Cats shot 23-59 (39.0%) on the day and 13-28 (46.4%) in the second half. The defense won Northern the game, holding Ferris to 13-53 (24.5%) for the game and an uncanny 4-23 (17.4%) in the second half. The Bulldogs stayed in the game at the free throw line, posting as many attempts from the charity stripe as the field in the second half (23), converting on 19. They were 29-35 for the game.
The Wildcats couldn’t get anything right early, facing a 10-0 deficit and going 0-5 from the floor to start. Sam Schultz came off the bench and converted from the line for the first NMU point. He followed it with a steal and finished on the other end to give the ‘Cats life. Justin Kuehl and Max Bjorklund hit consecutive triples, followed by a Bjorklund runner that suddenly gave the ‘Cats a 17-16 advantage with 9:30 to go.
NMU’s run continued to 21-3, and the Wildcats led by multiple possessions after falling in a quick and deep hole. The Bulldogs put together another 7-0 run to regain the lead. They held a slim 32-30 edge at halftime, with Max Bjorklund and Ben Davidson leading their respective sides with nine points each. Each Max came out of the half with a three, giving the ‘Cats the lead back. NMU found the whistles going against them early in the half, but the Green and Gold stuck with it, putting in the efforts on the defensive end.
Max Bjorklund took over with a close game down the stretch, connecting on a highly-contested triple and converting from the free-throw line. Despite the 23 free-throw attempts from the Bulldogs in the second half, the 23 shots they took from the field saw only four go in. The senior and company finished it on both ends late, pulling out a 67-59 victory.
The Wildcats will match up with the No. 8 MTU MTU Huskies in the GLIAC Championship. Michigan Tech defeated No. 5 Grand Valley State 73-69 in the semifinals. The game will be played tomorrow, March 5, at 3 p.m. at Wink Arena in Big Rapids.
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