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Cardinals take home opener over Wildcats 83-73

Cardinals take home opener over Wildcats 83-73

UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – The Saginaw Valley State University men's basketball team held off a second-half rally by Northern Michigan University to earn its first win of the season in the 2020-21 home opener Friday at the James E. O'Neill Arena.

After a close opening frame, the Cardinals took control early in the second half, ballooning their lead to 19 points. The Wildcats battled back and cut the deficit to just four with under five minutes to play, but SVSU hit its free-throws late to secure the 83-73 victory.

The win pushes the Cardinals to 1-2 overall and 1-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Myles Belyeu led SVSU with 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting, adding six rebounds. Delano Smith recorded 18 points off the bench, hitting 10-of-11 free throws, including several crucial makes down the stretch.

Malik Ellison added 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds, making 7-of-7 free throws. Zane Foster finished with 12 points and was a force on the defensive end with six blocks for the Cardinals.

SVSU shot 27-of-53 (50.9 percent) from the field, 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from deep and 23-of-25 (92 percent) from the line. The Cardinals totaled 12 assists, six steals and 14 turnovers, while outrebounding NMU 39-26.

Justin Kuehl, Dolapo Olayinka and Sam Schultz each scored 15 points to lead the Wildcats (1-2, 1-2 GLIAC).

The Cardinals host the Wildcats for the finale of a two-game weekend series at 3 pm Saturday at the James E. O'Neill Arena.

(File photo used from 2019-20 season)