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Monday September 25, 2023
Bjorklund, Parzych Lead NMU To Two Home Wins

MARQUETTE---The Northern Michigan University men's basketball team picked up two high-scoring wins Thursday and Friday nights in Marquette.

Max Bjorklund scored 30 points in a 97-81 win over Minnesota-Crookston, then added 34 points in a 90-86 win over Concordia-St. Paul. Bryan Parzych scored a combined 49 points in the wins.

The following stories were written by NMU Sports Information

Playing on the second leg of a back-to-back, the NMU Wildcats men's basketball team went to overtime with the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears, coming out on top 90-86.

Max Bjorklund once again led the charge for the Wildcats, pouring in 34 points, his third time with 30+ this season. His season average sits at 27.8. Bjorklund shot 13-22 (59.1%) from the floor with several big baskets down the stretch. He went blow for blow with the Bears' Antwan Simmons, who led the way with 35 points. 

Brian Parzych added 19 while Carson Smith chipped in 14 for the 'Cats. 

NMU is now 4-0 on the young season with a trip downstate to Hillsdale on the schedule for Sunday. 

A smooth spin move by Carson Smith opened up a driving lane and he finished off the opening possession with a Wildcat score. Max Bjorklund finished off an and-one a couple of trips down the hardwood later to push NMU ahead 5-0 in the early going. 

The Bears grabbed their first lead after a pair of connections from deep, but a Carson Smith corner three erased the deficit. The game was knotted at 12 apiece with 14:46 to go in the half. 

Antwan Kimmons had the hot hand early for CSP, converting on 4-5 shots for nine early points. Despite the success, threes from Najashi Tolefree and Justin Kuehl kept the Wildcats ahead with a slim 18-16 lead nearing the halfway point of the frame. 

Concordia's John Grigsby turned into a force for the Bears, scoring eight straight to jump ahead 24-21 with 7:23 to go. 

Brian Parzych and Max Weisbrod splashed home another two triples for the Wildcats approaching the final media timeout, but the intensity was in full effect on each side of the floor with each squad exchanging blows. NMU was up 31-29 with 3:55 to go. 

Parzych then finished off a clean spin move under the basket to make it six straight for the 'Cats as they built out their largest lead at 37-30 with 1:52 to go, leading to a Bears timeout to regroup. Each side had a bucket to close and NMU took a 39-33 edge into the locker room. 

NMU was led by Carson Smith with eight points. The Wildcats shot 15-33 (45.5%) in the half while the Bears shot 13-30 (43.3%). 

The Bears started the half out clicking, connecting on their first four shots including two from deep to tie it up 44-44. 

After the offenses fell flat for a prolonged stretch, Smith took a steal in for a fastbreak layup and Parzych followed his corner shot, grabbed the rebound, and finished off a tough and-one to gain a 53-48 lead with 11 minutes to go. 

Bjorklund then hit three straight contested shots, with a few CSP baskets sandwiched in between. NMU continued to hold a slim 61-58 lead with 7:11 remaining. After a timeout, the Wildcats' leading scorer kept his surge going with a quick drive to the hoop and a deep three. He had 11 straight for the 'Cats who kept a 66-61 lead with 5:39 to go. 

The Golden Bears went on a run of their own as they locked down defensively. They regained the lead 70-68 with 2:19 to go. After another basket on each side, the deficit for the 'Cats was 72-70 with 1:34 on the clock. A set of free throws from Bjorklund made it 72 all with 60 seconds to go. 

Concordia buried a pull-up jumper on their trip down the floor. For the 'Cats, Bjorklund connected on a contested jumper. The Bears shot to win it in the final seconds fell short and the sides were bound for OT at 74 each. Bjorklund led NMU with 25 through regulation. 

Bjorklund got the first five of the extra stanza to get to 30 for NMU, but the Bears had the answer each time as Antwan Kimmons had a collection of 30 for the opposition. The game was tied 81-81 with one minute to play. 

Bjorklund got a driving lay-in to go, but Kimmons again got it back for the Bears, getting an and-one for an 84-83 lead with 35 seconds to go. 

Coming back the other way, Dylan Kuehl face contact, but held strong getting the hoop to fall with a trip to the line. After converting, NMU was up 86-84 with 21 seconds on the clock. 

A Concordia three rattled out, and Parzych cleaned the glass and was fouled with 7.7 seconds. Parzych hit both to go up by four. A quick Bears basket was followed by a Bjorklund trip to the stripe. With ice in his veins, he put the game away with 3.6 seconds to go, as NMU went up 90-86, which would hold for a final. 
  • Max Bjorklund hit 30+ for the third time in four games, dropping 34 points on 13-22 shooting (59.1%). His season average now sits at 27.8 ppg. He added five rebounds to boot. 
  • Brian Parzych added 19 points with 5 assists while Carson Smith chipped in 14. 
  • Antwan Kimmons led all scorers with 35 points on 14-25 shooting. 
  • NMU shot 32-66 (48.5%) from the floor. Concordia was 32-62 (51.6%). From deep, the Wildcats went 7-26 while the Bears were 10-23.

After a slow start being down by as many as 18 to Minnesota Crookston in the first half, the Wildcats dropped 70 points in the final 22:50 of the game including 59 second-half points for an exciting 97-81 win in the 2022-23 home opener. 

Brian Parzych hit a career-high 30 points, shooting 10-16 (62.5%) from the field and 6-9 (66.7%) from deep. He added 4 assists, 3 steals, and 3 rebounds. Max Bjorklund matched it with another 30 for two standout NMU performances. Bjorklund was 11-18 (61.1%) from the floor including 4-6 (66.7%) from downtown and added 4 rebounds and a pair of assists. 

The Wildcats are now 3-0 on the season. NMU hit 13 triples on the night, with 11 coming in the second half. 

The Golden Eagles proved to be a force in the paint early, converting on four baskets down low in the first four minutes. The 'Cats struggled to find much offense from the start, but a Diego Robinson hoop down low and a Max Bjorklund smooth up-and-under and-one kept NMU within a possession at 8-5 at the first media timeout. 

As the reserves came in, Justin Kuehl immediately made an impact, going coast-to-coast for a hoop and following up a missed shot with a putback. He then drove and dished off for a corner feed to Sam Privet for a triple, giving NMU their first lead at 12-11 seven minutes in. Najashi Tolefree then converted another and-one as the Wildcat bench came in and turned the tides. 

As NMU's offense went stagnant, the Golden Eagles were able to take advantage backed by two triples from Rambo Badyal and one from Matthew Allman to quickly stretch their lead to 32-20 with 6:33 to go in the opening half, leading to an NMU timeout. 

That timeout didn't stop Crookston's rhythm, as they added another quick six to push the game to 38-20. NMU was finally able to halt the 13-0 run when Bjorklund and Dylan Kuehl each got to the line for a pair. NMU's deficit was 40-24 with 3:42 to go. 

A Bjorklund and Parzych-led run to close the half pulled the Wildcats all the way back within five at 43-38. In the closing 14-3 stretch, Bjorklund and Parzych each had five points. Bjorklund had 12 points in the half to lead the Wildcats. NMU shot 40.6% from the floor while Crookston shot 60%. 

After a Dylan Kuehl and-one and two-handed slam, the Wildcats got even at 43 all early in the half. Brian Parzych then got two hoops of his own, but the Eagles' offense continued to hit contested shots as they maintained a slim 54-49 lead with 15:55 to go. 

A series of NMU triples from Parzych, Bjorklund, Weisbrod, and Bjorklund again kept NMU close, but foul trouble in the half was a glaring issue, as Crookston hit the bonus with nearly 14 minutes to go in the half. NMU's deficit was 65-63 with 11:18 to go. 

Carson Smith got his first scratch from downtown out of the media timeout, followed by a left-handed drive to the basket for Bjorklund, another Smith bucket, and a Parzych three as NMU's offense really began to get it going. They jumped ahead 73-67 with 9:10 to go. 

Bjorklund continued his heater, hitting another highly-contested three out of the timeout to get the Wildcats up by nine. It was canceled out on the other end as the shooting on each end came to life. NMU was up 76-70 with 7:17 to go. 

As hot from the field as Bjorklund was, Parzych was just as sizzling, hitting another pair of triples, bringing his collection to 26. A Bjorklund dangle and three from the top of the key got his total to 26 right after. But it didn't take long for Parzych to get another, as he went on a stretch with six successful three-point attempts in a row. 

NMU went on their way to 59 second-half points and a 97-81 victory. Backed by 11 triples, the Wildcats shot 61.1% from deep in the half and 62.9% from the field. 
  • Brian Parzych and Max Bjorklund each dropped 30 points. Parzych hit a career high with his 30, shooting 10-16 (62.5%) from the field and 6-9 (66.7%) from deep. Bjorklund was 11-18 (61.1%) from the floor including 4-6 (66.7%) from downtown. 
  • Dylan Kuehl added 15 points on 5-8 shooting. 
  • Carson Smith put together 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals.

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