Cards drop second half again, lose 77-55
January 29, 2007 —
Northern Michigan used a 22-5 run to open the second half and sent SVSU to its fourth consecutive loss, 77-55, on Saturday.
The Cardinals held a 10-point edge just eight and a half minutes into the game and were down just two at halftime, but the Wildcats came out shooting to open the second half and left their opponents looking shell-shocked three minutes later.
Northern scored the first 12 points of the half, including three three-pointers in less than three minutes, and never looked back. Before the game was over, the Wildcats had increased their lead to 25 over a mostly listless SVSU squad.
"It was our inability to answer on either end," coach Jamie Matthews said. "No matter the sport, things will always get tougher in the second half of the game. We obviously didn't have an answer."
The game was even in almost every aspect in the first half, as both teams shot 12-29 from the field. SVSU was aided in the half by senior Martell Summers, who passed his career high with 10 points.
SVSU's main objective was to slow down Wildcats senior Ricky Volcy, who came into the game averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds. Volcy managed just nine points in the first half, but had four blocks.
Senior Will Washington scored eight in the half to help Volcy, while sophomore Tyler Kazmierkoski added six.
"(Volcy's) first half numbers were respectable," Matthews said. "(But in the second half) they spread the game and didn't need his points."
Washington and Kazmierkoski each hit a three-pointer in the second half's opening minutes, as did Volcy. Those would be Volcy's and Washington's last points of the game as the Wildcats utilized their other players to extend the lead.
For the half, NMU shot 16-of-28, or 57 percent, which included 6-of-10 shooting from behind the arc.
The Cardinals answered their opponents' hot shooting with another poor performance from the field. The GLIAC's worst shooting team at 38.4 percent per game, SVSU shot 41 percent in the first half but just 32 percent (9-of-28) in the second.
"Teams are going to make runs," Matthews said. "But we just can't answer them. Instead of allowing a 6-0 run, we let it go to 12-0."
The game was another case of the Cardinals' inability to make good on their first half efforts. Before Saturday's game, SVSU held the lead going into the half in their three previous games, all losses.
Of the Cardinals' 11 conference games, they led at the half seven times and were down by two or less twice. Yet with Saturday's loss, SVSU finds itself at 4-7 in the conference, tied for fifth with Ferris State.
"It's a sign of a team that has talent, but equally scary," he said. "It comes down to players making plays."
SVSU has had chances the last two weeks to make its move to make the GLIAC tournament for the first time since the 1998-1999 season, but has instead lost four in a row. Especially harmful about the losses is that they came against teams competing for playoff spots, as well.
Matthews said he didn't want that to be on his players' minds.
"We shouldn't be thinking about (the postseason)," he said. "I would rather have us win in the moment. If we're looking at the standings, we're not concentrating on the right things."
Luckily for the Cards, their next two games, both at home, are against two more teams with similar records to SVSU. Ferris State visits on Wednesday, while Lake Superior State, at 5-6 one game ahead of SVSU, comes on Saturday.
"(The Ferris State) game will be close at halftime," Matthews promised. "Our team will be prepared offensively and defensively. But in the second half, our guys are going to have to be tough enough and make plays."