MIDLAND, Mich.- The Saginaw Valley State men's basketball traveled to Northwood University on Saturday night looking for its second consecutive win against its cross-town rival. The Cardinals held an eight-point lead with 12:17 to play in the second half but were handed its eighth loss of the season by a 64-63 final score.
Northwood began the contest by scoring five straight points and setting the pace early on. SVSU worked its way back into the contest, as Devin Dixon scored the first points of the game on a pair of free throws. A Northwood three from the top of the key extended the Timberwolves lead to six before SVSU responded with a three-pointer from Mike Wells. The Cardinals kept the game at one possession with Garrett Hall's first points of the game off a jumper.
The Cardinals staved off the Timberwolves offense, holding them to a five-point cushion into the latter stages of the half with a layup coming from C.J. Turnage. He would score on another jumper cutting the deficit to 21-16 with 8:45 left to play.
Northwood responded by rattling off five straight points and taking its largest lead of the game. Saginaw Valley rallied from a 26-16 deficit to go on a 16-0 scoring run to take a four-point lead with just 2:55 left in the first half, with Wells and Hall accounting for all 16 points in that span. The Timberwolves stopped the bleeding with a long three-pointer from the elbow, cutting the lead to 32-29.
Hall would score on the final shot of the first half as the Cardinals went into the locker room holding onto a 34-29 lead over Northwood.
Northwood cut into the Saginaw Valley advantage early into the second half as a foul call from long range sent the Timberwolves to the line. After connecting on all three attempts, Saginaw Valley relinquished the five-point edge with a corner three from Hall. The Cardinals would then take its largest lead of the contest after Devin Dixon completed a three-point play at the 16:54 mark. Saginaw Valley headed into the media timeout with a 42-37 lead and Turnage heading to the line for more points.
Turnage would split the pair of free throws to push the lead once again to six points. On the next drive, Hall would extend the Cardinal advantage to eight points. The 47-39 lead with 12:17 to go was the largest of the game at that juncture for Saginaw Valley. Northwood would then chip away at the Cardinal lead to force a 53-53 tie with 7:55 remaining in the half. It was the first tie of the game and was quickly erased by an up-and-under by Dixon. Northwood drove down the floor after the SVSU basket and tied the game on a jumper with seconds waning on the shot clock.
It would be during Northwood's next drive that they would grab the lead for the first time, as the Timberwolves split on a pair of free throws to hold a slight edge on SVSU. The Cardinals would then jump out to a 58-56 advantage with just 3:58 to play heading out of the final media timeout. The two-point edge would be short lived as the Timberwolves would tie the game with a layup. SVSU mounted a three-point cushion as Mike Wells knocked down a long three-pointer with 1:19 left in regulation.
The Cardinals would hang on to this lead until the final seconds of regulation. Northwood made the score 61-60 after scoring off an offensive rebound. SVSU then took the 63-60 advantage as Hall knocked down a jump shot with seven seconds left on the shot clock. With 29 seconds to go, the Timberwolves stepped to the stripe and connected on both free throws. SVSU would then get the ball to ice the game and secure the win but were unable to convert on a free throw with 18 seconds left.
Northwood took the rebound down the floor and drew contact in the paint and stepped to the free throw line with a chance to take a late lead on the Cardinals. Saginaw Valley used its final timeout as the first free throw went through, tying the game at 63-63. The Timberwolves would get the next shot to fall with 2.6 seconds left and leaving SVSU with one last shot to win the game.
Malik Garner received an inbound pass and quickly rushed up the floor, heaving a shot from about 30-feet that hit the back rim and handed the Cardinals a last-second 64-63 loss at Riepma Arena.
Inside the Boxscore
- Mike Wells shot 9-of-12 from the floor for a total of 19 points and grabbed three rebounds against Northwood. He also added an assist and one steal and was named the Meijer "Player of the Game".
- Garrett Hall finished the contest with a game-high 21 points, four rebounds and an assist. He played in 36 minutes for the Cardinals.
- C.J. Turnage led bench scoring with 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal in 27 minutes of play.
- Devin Dixon provided seven points, nine rebounds, one block and two steals off the bench for the Cardinals as well.
- Saginaw Valley shot 45.6% in the contest, besting the 39.0% effort posted by Northwood. The Cardinals also had eight assists while the Timberwolves recorded five assists.
- Northwood outrebounded SVSU by a 39-31 margin. They also outscored the Cardinals, 10-2, in second chance points.
Saginaw Valley State men's basketball returns to O'Neill Arena to complete a stretch of three games in five days with a matchup against the Wayne State Warriors on Monday night (Jan. 30). Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. This is the first meeting of the season for both teams.
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