MARQUETTE, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University Men's basketball team defeated Northern Michigan University today (Jan. 17), 56-51, in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) match. With the win, the Cardinals improve to 7-6 on the season and 5-5 in GLIAC play, while the Wildcats drop to 4-11 overall and 3-8 in the conference.
SVSU got off to a quick 4-0 start after the first 1:30 of play after a steal and pull-up jumper by Jay Thames (Port Huron, Mich. / Port Huron Northern HS) and a layup by Chris Webb (Saginaw, Mich. / Arthur Hill HS).
Saginaw Valley used tough defense and an up-tempo offense to stretch their lead throughout the first half.
With 7:10 to play in the first half, seven consecutive points for SVSU by "Meijer Player of the Game" Chris Webb put the Cardinals up 27-17. Webb would finish the contest with 17 points, three rebounds and two assists.
The Cardinals took their biggest lead of the first half with 3:43 to play, when a steal by Kellen Smith (Covington, Kentucky / Scott HS) was converted into a Stone Beckwith (Mt. Pleasant, Mich. / Beal City HS) layup to put Saginaw Valley up 31-20.
SVSU coasted into the intermission with a 33-24 advantage. For the half, the Cardinals shot 57 percent on 12-of-21 shooting, while holding the Wildcats to just 38 percent. Saginaw Valley also distributed the ball well, holding an eight to four assist advantage.
The second half started with the Cardinals increasing their lead. With 15:24 to play in the second half, a Mike Schaaf (Saginaw, Mich./Arthur Hill HS) bucket from behind the arc gave SVSU a 44-29 lead. Saginaw Valley maintained their 15 point advantage after a Rob Clark (Saginaw, Mich. / Saginaw HS) layup put the Cardinals up 54-39 with 8:49 to play in the game.
However, SVSU hit a cold streak and Northern Michigan was able to go on a 12-0 run late in the game to cut the Cardinal lead to 54-51 with 2:28 left in the contest.
But, SVSU played tough defense down the stretch and held the Wildcats scoreless for remainder of the game. A pair of Webb free throws with :08 seconds left gave the Cardinals a 56-51 victory.
Saginaw Valley controlled the paint, holding a 26-18 points in the paint advantage. The Cardinals also won despite not scoring a field goal in the final 8:49 of the game and losing the turnover battle 16-6.
SVSU got key contributions from Clark, who pulled down seven rebounds and added 10 points, Smith, who also grabbed seven boards to go along with a team-high six assists and Brett Beland (Menominee, Mich. / Menominee HS), who chipped in with five assists and six points.
The Saginaw Valley State University Men's basketball team will return to the hardwood on Saturday (Jan. 19) for a 1:00 PM road contest against Michigan Tech.