HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team fell at home to Lake Superior State 75-67 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference showdown Saturday afternoon at the SDC Gym. The Huskies dug themselves a hole early, but battled back with a strong second half to challenge the Lakers down the stretch. Unfortunately, the Lakers were able to hold off Tech's charge and come away with the win.
"Lake Superior State is a very good basketball team and you can't give them that type of a lead and expect to give yourself a chance," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "I thought our guys did a good job of battling back, but credit goes to Lake Superior State for coming out strong in the first half against us. They defended well and were aggressive, which took us out of our rhythm on offense. To our credit, our guys played hard and didn't quit. We played more free and did things better in the second half to cut the deficit down to six points, but they were able to answer and stop our run.
"There aren't any easy games in the GLIAC and the schedule is relentless so we have to regroup and get ready to face two more great teams in Grand Valley State and Davenport beginning Thursday. We have to do a good job at practice this week and our guys have to come ready to play in order to have success against these two clubs."
The defenses for Michigan Tech (8-7, 3-5 GLIAC) and Lake Superior State (9-5, 5-3 GLIAC) took center stage in the first two minutes of the game with neither side being able to get on the scoreboard. The Lakers eventually broke through for the first points of the afternoon when Malek Adams sighted in a three-point shot with 17:57 on the first half clock. The Huskies were then able to answer when freshman Owen White cut to the basket to make it a 3-2 contest a few seconds later.
The two teams traded buckets on the ensuing possessions before the Lakers were able to move up by five points at 9-4 on a Rog Stein layup at the 15:13 mark. Sophomore Dawson Bilski fired in two of his team high 24 points on the afternoon to bring the Huskies back to within three points again at 9-6. Unfortunately, the Lakers would put together a 20-2 scoring run during the next seven minutes, resulting in a 29-8 lead. Blake Marquardt delivered a three-point basket with 7:43 left in the half to cap the burst.
Sophomore Isaac Appleby stopped the Laker's run with back-to-back field goals for Tech to slice four points off the deficit and make it a 29-12 contest with 6:48 to go until the break. The two sides then traded baskets during the final moments of the first half, which left the Huskies deficit at 17 points going into the locker room at halftime. Sophomore Trent Bell banked in a layup for the final two points of the opening period, making is a 38-21 score with 20 minutes in the books.
Bell eventually brought the Huskies to within 10 points at 50-40 on a dunk with just under 12 minutes to play in the second half. The Lakers spent a timeout to regroup and reeled off six points in a row to maintain their double digit advantage.
Trailing 64-51 with just over six minutes left in the second half, the Huskies began to make their final push to try and get back into the game. Bilski sank a pair of shots at the charity stripe and followed that up with a triple to slice the Laker lead down to single digits at 64-56. White then drew contact from the Lake Superior State defense and made his way to the charity stripe where he cashed in two chances. White's free throws made it a two possession game at 64-58 with 4:51 to play in the final half.
Unfortunately, that's as close as the Huskies would get the rest of the afternoon. The Lakers reeled off five straight points to build their advantage back to double digits at 69-58 with 2:31 remaining. Tech was able to climb to within eight points three separate times, but on each occasion Lake Superior State had an answer offensively to prevent a final run by Tech.
Bilski closed the afternoon with a team high 24 points and career high 11 rebounds to power the Huskies. Bilski was 8 for 14 from the field and 6 for 6 at the free throw line against the Lakers. White had a solid performance with 15 points and senior Bryan Heath rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points. Bell wrapped up the contest with six points and equaled Bilski's 11 rebounds.
As a team, the Huskies made good on 25 of 53 shots from the field (47.2%), were 4 of 21 from three-point range (19.0%), and 13 of 15 at the free throw line (86.7%). Tech out-rebounded Lake Superior State 38-25 and scored 36 points in the paint.
Adams had a game high 25 points for the Lakers followed by Stein with 13 points with Marquardt chipping in 11 points. Stein had a team high five rebounds and four steals while Tim Cairnduff picked up six points and dished out four assists. The Lakers fired in 29 of 58 shots from the floor (50.0%), found the bottom of the net on 8 of 21 triple tries (38.1%), and converted 9 of 17 opportunities at the free throw line (52.9%).
The Huskies will be back in action on Thursday night when they host Grand Valley State University in a GLIAC contest at the SDC Gym. The tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time.