Wayne State's men’s basketball team (10-6, 7-5 GLIAC) trounced the Northwood Timberwolves (4-17, 2-10 GLIAC) 89-66, on Thursday night to snap a five-game losing streak. The Warriors played a remarkable second-half to seal the 23-point blowout.
The Warriors began the game on a 15-1 run, giving the impression that the game would be over early. But, the Timberwolves answered back with a couple of threes and a layup to cut the Warrior lead to 17-11, with 12:45 left in the first half.
The Timberwolves tied the game 23-23 at the 6:50 mark with two more three pointers, making a total of five in the first half. Junior guard Marcus Moore said that Northwood’s 2-3 matchup zone gave the Warriors problems in the first half, forcing them to settle for jumpers and allowing the Timberwolves to make a run.
“We started slowing our pace down, taking contested shots, and settling for jumpers,” Moore said. “And then they went on their run.”
From then on, the two teams went back and forth, with neither able to establish control until Moore hit a three pointer to put the Warriors up three with 1:34 remaining in the first half. The Warriors went into the locker room at halftime with a 37-34 lead, shooting a scanty 40 percent from the field, no different from their poor shooting over their five game losing skid.
The second-half was a completely different story, as the Warrior’s offense exploded scoring 52 points (on 50 percent shooting). WSU’s run was catapulted by junior guard Ronald Booth who made a three pointer, then on the ensuing offensive possession converted a three point play, pushing the Warrior lead to 52-42 with 13:08 left to play. The Warriors never looked back from there, eventually pushing their lead to 20 with 6:58 left in the game.
WSU Head Coach David Greer said that in the second-half his team was playing to win, something he didn’t see in the five game losing streak.
“Of the five games we lost, four of them were really close games and we had the lead with two minutes to go in all four of those,” Greer said. “I thought we had a chance to win those games, but we were almost playing not to lose instead of playing to win. So, I thought in the second-half they were playing to win.”
Five players scored in double digits for the Warriors. Junior forward Chuck Key, who led all scorers with 20, praised his team’s balanced scoring attack.
“All the best teams have balanced scoring, not just in our league, but in basketball overall,” Key said. “That’s the makings of a good team, so we need to show that characteristic more.”
Moore credited the team’s second-half success to their improved ball movement and their ability to breakdown Northwood’s zone.
“Our ball movement in the second half was way better than it was in the first half,” Moore said. “We were really breaking down their zone and we had been struggling a lot against zone this year. That’s how we lost most of our games.”
Coach Greer said that this win was good for his team’s confidence.
“It was good to see them get a little rhythm in the second-half and share the basketball,” Greer said. “And that’s fun to watch.”
The Warriors return to action on Jan. 28 at home against Lake Superior State at 3 p.m.