HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team recorded win number two in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Saturday afternoon with an 87-70 decision over Northwood University in the SDC. The Huskies have now won three straight overall and used a strong first half to seize the momentum from the Timberwolves.
"I feel better today than a I did after Thursday's game against Saginaw Valley State," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "I felt like we sustained our defensive effort longer and I think and we were able to stay out of long scoring droughts today. Give credit to Northwood, they played hard even though we had them down early. A lot of teams would have quit in that gym and they didn't so that's credit to them.
"Offensively, we ended up making 12 three-pointers, but I thought we had some good success in the paint as well. Kyle [Monroe], Ryan [Schuller], and A.J. [Grazulis] did some nice things inside which helps open up the outside shot. We have to have balance, but it's nice for our guys to be able to knock down the three-point shots like we did today."
Saturday's game seesawed back and forth during the first three minutes as each side traded baskets to start. Northwood (2-5, 0-2 GLIAC) took the lead on a layup by Trey McBride 20 seconds into the action. Michigan Tech (5-3, 2-0 GLIAC) then tied the score with a jumper in the paint courtesy of senior A.J. Grazulis on the very next possession.
The Huskies grabbed the edge at 8-6 with 17:27 left in the first half on a triple from freshman Isaac Appleby. Appleby would go on to post a career high 20 points by the time the final buzzer sounded on Saturday. Kelvin Calhoun II knotted the game again at 8-8 on a layup with 17:07 on the clock, but the Huskies would turn the tide of the contest during the next four minutes.
Senior Tanner Uren dialed in a triple that would give the advantage to the Huskies for good while also igniting a 13-0 run. Junior Kyle Monroe followed with a jumper in the paint and then a turnover by Northwood setup another Monroe field goal. The Huskies took full advantage of Timberwolves' turnovers Saturday by converting them into 22 points on the offensive end of the floor. Monroe eventually closed the run with a pair of three-point buckets, resulting in a 21-8 Tech lead with 12:54 remaining in the first half.
The Huskies defense continued to stifle the Northwood attack and by the time the 5:27 mark of the first half rolled around, Tech had its largest lead of the day at 40-13. Appleby sank a mid-range jumper to put the Huskies at the 40-point threshold. The Timberwolves, however, were able to slice 10-points off the deficit during the final five minutes of the half. Zach Allread made it a 43-26 score on a layup right before the buzzer sounded.
The Huskies maintained a double digit lead throughout the second half although the Timberwolves threatened to get back within striking distance with just over 7:35 to play. Nate Georgeton drained a trey to make it a 67-57 score with still plenty of time on the clock. Fortunately, the Huskies would get the next four points on a fast break layup by Appleby which was setup courtesy of a Monroe steal. Monroe then made his way to the free throw where he sank two shots, extending the lead to 71-57 with just over six minutes remaining. The Timberwolves would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Monroe recorded his second double-double of the 2017-18 season on the strength of a game high 32 points, 12 rebounds and five steals. Monroe was on target with 11 of 19 shots from the field while converting all seven of his free throw attempts. Appleby followed Monroe with a career high 20 points while junior Bryan Heath chipped in 13 points. Uren tacked on six points and shared the team lead in assists with freshman Dawson Bilski who each dealt out five assists.
The Huskies found the bottom of the net on 31 of 55 shots from the field (56.4%), were 12 of 20 from three-point land (60.0%), and 13 of 16 at the free throw line (81.3%). Tech had 21 assists as a team, forced 14 Northwood turnovers, and only had eight miscues of their own.
Trey McBride guided the Timberwolves with 17 points followed by Calhoun II with 13 points, Georgeton tossed in 11 points, and Allread chipped in 10 points with a team high eight rebounds. Northwood connected on 22 of 54 shots from the field (40.7%), went 7 of 22 from behind the arc (31.8%), and 19 of 23 at the free throw line (82.6%). The Timberwolves had a slight edge in rebounding 33-28.
Michigan Tech is on the road next week to battle Grand Valley State and Purdue Northwest in GLIAC matchups. The Huskies will face the Lakers Thursday night at 6 p.m. before taking on the Pride at 4 p.m. Saturday.