SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — A thrilling men's basketball matchup between the Lake Superior State Lakers and Northern Michigan Wildcats came down to the wire on Saturday at Bud Cooper Gymnasium. The Lakers were edged by the Wildcats 73-68 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play.
The opening half of play was very tight, as neither team could get very far ahead of the other. Northern Michigan (15-9, 10-7 GLIAC) had a nine-point lead at one point, but that lead was quickly erased by the Lakers, as Ke'Montrece Collins scored eight-straight Lake Superior State (13-10, 9-8 GLIAC) points, helping even things up. The remainder of the half was tightly contested, with the score differential never surpassing five points either way, and the two teams went into the locker room tied at 37-37.
Coming out of halftime, the game tightened up even further, as neither team could make a lead stand. With the Wildcats leading by three with only seconds remaining in regulation, Lake Superior State's Tim Cairnduff took a potential game tying three-pointer that would not fall. An intentional foul sent Northern Michigan's Troy Summer to the line, where he hit two free throws, sealing the Lakers' defeat and making the final score 73-68.
The Lakers were led by Collins, who had 20 points, followed by Rog Stein with 14. Collins also collected a team-high six rebounds. Northern Michigan was led by Isaiah Johnson with 26 points. Marcus Matelski had a game-high eight rebounds.
As a team, Lake Superior State shot 24 for 50 (48 percent) compared to the Wildcats' 25 for 56 (44.6 percent). The Lakers shot well from behind the arc — going 9 for 19 (47.4 percent). In addition, the Lake Superior State bench outscored Northern Michigan's 26 to 3.
Prior to the game, the Lakers paid tribute to their three seniors as part of Senior Day. Blake Marquardt of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Carson Manger of New Breman, Ohio and Cairnduff of Morley, Michigan were honored for their accomplishments and contributions to Laker men's basketball.
The Lakers hit the road for their next two games, facing Wisconsin-Parkside and Purdue Northwest before returning home to Bud Cooper Gymnasium for their regular-season finale against Ferris State on Thursday, Feb. 28. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or online.