Wayne State had eighth-ranked Northern State on the ropes for much of the second half, but the Wolves hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with :22 to go in regulation and came away with a 66-62 win in action Saturday at Rice Auditorium.
The Wildcats played Northern tough from start to finish, keeping things close and taking a 30-28 lead at the half on the strength of two Nate Mohr free throws in the final minute of the opening half.
Wayne State scored the first five points of the second half on a jumper by Mohr and a 3-pointer by Jay Saunders, and after Northern cut the gap to three points, the Wildcats used a 9-2 run, capped by a Cody McCullough free throw to make it 53-43 with 12:13 to play.
The Wolves came back and tied the game at 60-60 with 3:53 to go on a jumper by Parker Fox, and Fox followed up with a dunk later to give Northern its first lead of the second half at 62-60 with 2:20 to go.
Wayne State tied the game at 62-62 with :57 on a Saunders layup, but Northern hit the go-ahead 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to score the winning points. Fox iced the game with a free throw in the closing seconds to seal the win.
Justin Eagins led the Wildcats with 10 points while Mohr and Jordan Janssen each had nine points.
The two teams will play one another again Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Rice Auditorium.
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