UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich.- The Saginaw Valley State men's basketball team began a three-game homestand looking to erase a two-game losing streak on Thursday night against Northern Michigan. The Cardinals were unable to maintain a second half lead, as the Wildcats handed SVSU an 82-76 defeat at O'Neill Arena.
Malik Garner began the scoring for SVSU on its first possession of the game after winning the opening tip. Northern Michigan quickly stole the lead with a long three, making the score 3-2 just 43 seconds in. The rampant scoring would continue throughout the opening minutes of the half, as the Cardinals held the lead eight different times before the media timeout.
Saginaw Valley took a 17-13 lead at the 15:40 mark with a Jake Daniels layup. After allowing a NMU three-pointer, C.J. Turnage created a turnover and recorded his eighth point of the half with a dunk. The score quickly rose to 20-19 in favor of the Wildcats as the first media timeout would hit with 13:25 to play.
The Cardinals would grab the lead once again as Jon Marosi connected on a corner three after checking in at the timeout. The Wildcats countered the Marosi triple with a 7-2 scoring run that gave them a 27-24 lead with 8:56 left in the first half.
Saginaw Valley would respond to the NMU scoring run with an 8-0 run of its own, getting points off of a layup from Turnage and three-pointers from Caleb Davis and held a 32-27 over Northern Michigan. Following the Davis long ball, the Wildcats quickly erased the five point SVSU lead with a made layup and a three-pointer, playing to the game's sixth tie of the half and a 32-32 score with 4:37 left to play.
The Cardinals would regroup at the media timeout and grew its lead during the closing moments of the first half. Daniels would hit another three while Mike Wells drew contact in the paint and completed the three-point play, giving the Cards a 38-34 edge with 3:29 to go. Saginaw Valley would grow to nine points shortly there after with baskets coming from Turnage and Marosi, who converted on another three from the right wing.
The defense clamped down on the Northern Michgan offense to hold down a 46-38 lead heading into halftime. Saginaw Valley finished the first half shooting 61.3% from the field and outscoring NMU 24-16 in the paint.
SVSU's hot shooting continued into the second half. Wade Gelhaus began the scoring in the second half with a layup that made the score 48-40. A Turnage block created points for the Cardinals as Garner would score on the Northern Michigan turnover, giving SVSU its first double-digit lead of the game. After a brief seven-point cushion following a three from Northern, Richie Roberts scored his first points of the game, forcing a 52-43 lead on the Wildcats. Roberts would keep the lead at 10 points as he split on a pair of free throws following the media stoppage.
Saginaw Valley's lead stayed at 10 points or higher after a made jumper from Northern made the score 57-47 with 11:41 left to play. The Cardinals scored on the next play with a layup from Gelhaus and a free throw after drawing the foul with 10:39 left in the second half. His layup that stemmed from another Turnage block gave SVSU its largest lead of the game, a 62-49 advantage with 9:09 to play in the game.
The Cardinals would not be able to hold the lead after this point. Caleb Davis connected on a pair of free throws after Saginaw Valley split on its previous two attempts from Daniels and Gelhaus. Northern Michigan made it a 66-60 lead with a long three after the Davis free throws. He would draw another foul and make another pair of shots to extend the edge to eight points. NMU held off the Cardinals and cut their deficit to 68-64 shortly before the final media timeout.
Northern Michigan exited the media stoppage by converting on free throws and cutting the SVSU lead down to two. Gelhaus made a free throw but the defense allowed an NMU three that tied the game for the first time since the 5:01 mark of the first half. Mike Wells made a layup to push the advantage to SVSU and forced Northern to use a timeout. The Wildcats used the timeout to regroup and went on a 6-0 scoring run to grab its first lead of the second half and force SVSU into a timeout with 46 seconds left to play.
The Cardinals would keep the Wildcat at four points following a pair of free throws from Malik Garner with 18 seconds remaining. However, Northern would draw a foul and make both free throws to ice the game and hand the No. 18-ranked Cardinals its third consecutive loss by an 82-76 final score.
Inside the Boxscore
- Wade Gelhaus scored a team-high 16 points and hauled in eight rebounds for Saginaw Valley. He also had three assists and one steal and was selected for today's Meijer "Player of the Game". Gelhaus set a season-high in points and tied his season bests with rebounds and assists.
- Malik Garner tied his season-high eight assists tonight and had 11 points. Garner received his second consecutive start and played 36 minutes.
- C.J. Turnage chipped into the Cardinal offense with 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks. All of C.J.'s points came in the first half of action.
- Caleb Davis shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line and finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Saginaw Valley State men's basketball continues its homestand with a Saturday (Jan. 14) afternoon matchup with GLIAC North opponent Michigan Tech. The Huskies enter the contest having defeated Wayne State, 63-58, on Thursday night. Tip-off from O'Neill Arena is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
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