NMU men’s hoops: Wildcats fall at Albion

ALBION – The Northern Michigan University men’s basketball lost in the championship game of the Mike Turner Tip-Off Classic to host Albion College, 83-76, on Saturday.

The Wildcats made the finals by beating Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) 75-62 on Friday.

NMU (1-1) trailed in the opening minutes before a layup by junior forward Justin Newell gave the Wildcats an 8-7 lead.

Northern kept the lead until nine minutes remained in the half when Albion’s Lawrence Ridgell hit a 3-point jumper to put the Britons ahead 17-16.

Albion (2-0), which led 38-36 at halftime, kept that lead throughout the second half, upping its advantage to as many as 12 points.

Freshman guard Marcus Hall led NMU with 24 points as he made 7 of 8 free throws. Junior guard Ethan Blackwell added 12 points off the bench as the Wildcats shot 29 of 57 (50.9 percent) from the field but only 15 of 29 (51.7 percent) from the free-throw line. Newell, Foster and freshman forward Brett Branstrom each pulled down five rebounds.

For Albion, Eric Evans scored 25 points off the bench, while Lawrence added 19 as the Britons shot 28 for 58 (48.3 percent) from the floor and were 22 for 33 (66.7 percent) at the charity stripe.

The Wildcats continue non-conference play on Monday when they host Grace Bible College at 7:30 p.m. at the Berry Events Center. Grace is 2-4 after an 85-70 win over Great Lakes Christian College on Tuesday. Monday’s game will be the first meeting between the two teams.