Freshman guard Marcus Hall led the Northern Michigan University men's basketball team with 18 points as the Wildcats picked up a 74-66 win over visiting Wayne State in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference action Saturday at the Berry Events Center.
The Wildcats improved to 5-17 overall with a 4-14 league record while Wayne State fell to 11-11 with a 9-10 GLAIC mark.
"It was good to see us have a better second half. That has been our Achilles heel in a lot of games. That was wonderful to see," said NMU head coach Bill Sall. "We talked a lot yesterday about coming out and playing harder. Today we came back and played better basketball, by no means was it beautiful, but it was better. If we can do that we can continue working towards being a better team."
Hall led Northern Michigan in the first half with a game-high 11 points. NMU trailed 27-25 at the break after junior forward Chavis Mattison converted an old fashioned three-point play with seven seconds left in the half.
NMU was 8-23 in the first half, and 8-10 from the charity stripe.
The Wildcats took their first lead of the second half when Newell converted a layup with 14:54 remaining in the game to put NMU on top 33-32.
A three-pointer by Hall with 10:14 remaining in the game put the Wildcats up 45-42, a lead they never relinquished. Layups by sophomore guard Terry Nash and Mattison with 2:19 and 1:30 remaining each gave NMU an 11-point lead, its largest of the game.
Wayne State was able to chip away at the NMU lead cutting it to four with six seconds remaining in the contest, 70-66. But, junior guard Ethan Blackwell and Mattison combined to go 4-4 from the free throw line in the final seconds to seal the win for the Wildcats.
Wayne State outrebounded the Wildcats 38-34 in the contest and outscored NMU 26-20 in the paint.
NMU shot 49-percent (24-49) from the floor and were 7-14 (50%) from the three-point line. The Wildcats held Wayne State to a 39.7-percent field goal percentage (23-58) and 3-12 (25%) from three-point range.
Gerald Williams-Taylor led the Warriors with 20 points, followed by Chene Phillips with 15 and Bryan Coleman with 14.
NMU returns to action on Thursday traveling to Lake Superior State.