Wildcat men’s basketball downs the Panthers 89-74

Bjorklund led the way for the Green and Gold, shooting 11-17 from the floor and 7-10 from downtown for his 33 total.
Published: Jan. 21, 2023 at 10:41 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Max Bjorklund poured in 33 points, Dylan Kuehl added 21 points and nine rebounds, and Max Weisbord dished out 11 assists to help lead the Wildcats (15-4, 7-2) to an 89-74 victory over the Davenport Panthers (6-13, 2-7) on Saturday in the Berry Events Center. Bjorklund led the way for the Green and Gold, shooting 11-17 from the floor and 7-10 from downtown for his 33 total. He scored 17 in the first half and another 16 in the second. Dylan Kuehl dominated the first half, scoring 18 of his 21 on 6-8 shooting. Max Weisbrod again controlled the point in impressive fashion, handing out 11 helpers, his second straight contest reaching double-digit assists.

Marcedus Leech Jr. scored 22 of his career-high 35 points in the second half for the Panthers to keep them in the game. He was 11-20 from the floor. In the game, NMU was 32-65 (49.2%) from the floor while hitting their stride from beyond the arc, going 15-31 (48.4%). The Panthers weren’t too shabby themselves, shooting 25-53 (47.2%) from the field and 10-20 (50%) from three.

It didn’t start particularly well for the Green and Gold, getting stuffed into an 8-1 hole early behind DU triples from Leech and Terrell. The Wildcats would eventually get it going, however, after Carson Smith and Dylan Kuehl kickstarted the offense. Trailing 12-8 at the first media timeout, the ‘Cats saw an immediate impact from the reserves, with Najashi Tolefree and Justin Kuehl coming in and knocking down shots. After pulling even, Dylan Kuehl scored 12 straight NMU points including a personal 9-0 run to jump ahead 25-19 with just over eight minutes to go in the opening half.

The offensive torch was then passed from Kuehl to Bjorklund, as Max registered eight straight NMU points in a 10-0 run to build a cushion at 39-22 with 4:23 remaining. After trailing 16-13, the run added up to 26-6 over a nearly seven-minute stretch. Bjorklund would add another pair of triples in the final minutes of the half, helping vault NMU to a 45-28 halftime edge. He had 17 in the half while Kuehl led the way with 18.

Marcedus Leech Jr. dipped into double figures for DU with 13 points. The ‘Cats extended the lead to 20 early in the second half, going up 49-29. Dylan Kuehl and Max Bjorklund, along with DU’s Marcedus Leech Jr. all connected on triples early in the 2nd half to cross the 20-point plateau. Despite trying to balloon the lead further, Leech Jr. kept a paw in it for the Panthers, scoring 22 points in the second half. After NMU held a game-high 25-point lead, Leech Jr. fueled a 16-2 Davenport run to pull within 11 at 73-62 with just under seven minutes on the clock.

The Green and Gold were able to push that lead right back to 19, going on an 8-0 run with five points from Carson Smith. Max Bjorklund would go on to hit three more triples in the final five minutes to close out the victory for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats will hit the road for a pair next week, starting with a matchup on the Upper Peninsula’s eastern end against the Lake Superior State Lakers on Thursday, January 26. Tip-off will take place following the women’s game at approximately 7:30 p.m.