After getting two crucial wins in the Upper Peninsula last week, the Wayne State men’s basketball team (14-8, 11-5 GLIAC) had its five-game winning streak snapped by the Northwood Timberwolves (15-7, 10-5 GLIAC), 70-63 on Feb. 11.
“They were just tougher than us,” Warriors head coach David Greer said. “They played smarter (and) they were the more aggressive team. (WSU) just wasn’t very tough.”
The two teams exchanged baskets to start the game, making two 3-pointers each. The Warriors then took a four-point lead – their largest of the game – at 12-8.
After a technical foul on Ike Udanoh, Northwood hit two free throws and scored on its next possession the tie the score at 12.
“Ike didn’t have one of his better games mentally,” Greer said of the technical.
The two teams went back-and-forth, and with 6:15 remaining in the first half, the score was 28 all. From there the Timberwolves took a three-point lead. The Warriors got within one point multiple times, but would head into halftime down 38-34.
On the Warriors second possession of the half, Stacey Waters hit a triple to cut the deficit to one. The Timberwolves answered, and built a six-point lead – forcing Greer to call a timeout – two minutes into the half.
The Warriors came out of the timeout more aggressive – diving for loose balls and forcing turnovers – to get within one at 43-42.
WSU couldn’t get over on the Timberwolves, though, as Northwood extended its lead to five points, 49-44.
Udanoh – who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds – made a layup at the 15:03 mark to make the score 51-48. After that, both teams went on a cold-streak. Neither team would score for over five minutes. A layup from Northwood ended its scoring drought, but the Warriors suffered a bit longer.
“I think it was just bad shots,” Greer said. “Northwood had some size in there, but when we did get the ball inside we missed easy shots.”
After going scoreless for nearly seven minutes, a Cole Prophet layup ended the dry spell, making the score 55-50. The Warriors trailed 57-50 with less than eight minutes left. They battled to get within four on multiple occasions, but struggled to get closer than that.
A jumper by Ian Larkin with 3:28 cut the deficit to four once again, but as they did every other time, the Timberwolves responded.
“We could never really get over the hump,” Greer said.
Down 66-60 with 1:28 remaining, the Warriors made one final push to get back in the game. But a 3-point attempt by Stacey Waters rimmed out, sealing the game for Northwood.
Larkin led the Warriors with 20 points, while Waters and Bryan Coleman contributed with eight points each. With the loss, the Warriors fell to third in the GLIAC South standings and fourth overall.
The Warriors will look to move up in the standings Feb. 16 against Ferris State at 7 p.m. at the Matthaei.
“We’re just going to have to come out and make a statement next week,” Greer said.