MARQUETTE, Mich. -- The Northern Michigan University men's basketball team opened up their season with a memorable win over the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, a 76-75 overtime thriller.
The game started with lots of back-and-forth action as both teams battled their way to baskets and it was the Wildcats up by one at the halftime break, 34-33.
The Rangers controlled the ball for the opening minutes of the second half, taking the lead back while the Wildcats looked to find that first-half success again. The two teams fought hard in the second half, with both teams hopeful to pull away and get the first win of the season.
Max Bjorklund looked to have put the Wildcats moments away from the win when he sank a three-point shot from deep but the Rangers rallied and carried the ball down the court, converting on a two-point shot to knot things at 69. Dolapo Olayinka gave the Wildcats hope as the buzzer sounded, throwing up a desperation three with a near-perfect arc but the ball hit the rim and bounced out. Overtime loomed.
Through the overtime period, the Wildcats seemingly dominated the ball but a handful of late calls brought the Rangers within one. After a made three-point attempt by the opposition, Tre Harvey rushed down the court and hit his own shot from beyond the arc for the 76-75 final.
With 23 points, Bjorklund led the team, shooting 50 percent from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 on the free throw. He also posted four defensive rebounds in the contest. Noah Parcher and Olayinka also had double-digit nights as Parcher tallied 11 points and Olayinka had 14. Adding 10 rebounds to his night, Olayinka recorded the Wildcats' first double-double of the season.
The Wildcats face the Rangers again on Sunday, Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. before their first road trip of the year, at Saginaw Valley State next Friday and Saturday (Jan. 15-16).