LEBANON, Ill. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team notched win number two of the weekend on the strength of a 63-54 victory over Lewis University on the second day of the GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament Sunday afternoon. The Huskies trailed 34-33 at the break, but for the second straight game put together a strong final half to lock down the win.
"Today's game was a great way to finish the weekend," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "Going on the road and getting two wins against two good clubs was tremendous for our team. Lewis played really well and I thought our defense stepped up big in the second half to slow them down. Our offense came around as well in the second half, which was great to see."
Michigan Tech (2-0) exploded out of the gate Sunday with six points in the opening minute to grab a 6-0 advantage. Senior Tommy Lucca filled up a three-point basket to get the offense rolling followed by another triple from senior Kyle Monroe at the 19:16 mark of the first half. Lewis (0-2) then countered with a 7-0 scoring burst to capture the lead for the first time at 7-6 with 17:10 to play until the break. Monroe gave the Huskies the edge once again at 9-7 with another trey a few seconds later, setting in motion a sequence of exchanged field goals between the two clubs over the next few minutes.
The Flyers eventually established their largest lead of the day with just under five minutes to play in the first half. Artese Stapleton dialed in a three-point basket to make it a 34-23 score. However, the Huskies began to regroup in the later stages of Sunday's opening half. The points via Stapleton's basket would prove to be it for the Flyers in the first half.
Meanwhile, Tech put up 10 unanswered points to close the gap to one point at 34-33 right before the end of the opening frame. Monroe kick started the rally with a midrange jumper and added two free throws followed by two more successful shot attempts from the field. Sophomore Owen White centered in two free throws with 18 seconds on the clock to cap the run and Sunday's first half.
The Huskies defense continued to shut down the Lewis offensive attack at the outset of the second half, enabling the Huskies to regain the lead at 36-35 on a triple by junior Dawson Bilski at the 16:36 mark. With the game tied 39-39, Tech grabbed the lead for good at 42-39 on another three-point basket by Bilski with 11:37 on the clock.
The Flyers stayed within two to three possessions of the Huskies until the final four minutes of the game when Tech was able to pull away. Leading 52-46, White bumped the Tech advantage to 54-46 on a layup and then fired in a jumper to make it 10 points at 56-46 with 3:44 on the second half clock. White then created the Huskies largest lead of the afternoon at 58-46 with 3:09 to go.
Lewis made one final push to try and draw even or take the lead late, but could get no closer than six points down the stretch. Adam Pischke sank two free throws to slice Tech's lead to 58-52 with 1:22 remaining, but Monroe and Lucca were able to seal the win with some key free throws of their own in the final minute Sunday afternoon.
Monroe powered Tech's offense for the second straight game with 23 points and 10 rebounds, resulting in his first double-double of the 2019-20 campaign. Bilski followed with 14 points while adding five rebounds and a pair of assists to the stat sheet. White wrapped up the contest with 13 points to round out the double-digit scorers for the Huskies. Monroe and Lucca ended up leading the team in the assist category with three apiece.
As a team, the Huskies made 21 of 57 shots from the field (36.8%), were 10 of 31 from three-point range (32.3%), and cashed in 11 of 14 chances at the free throw line (78.6%). The Huskies had a slight edge in rebounding at 39-37, scored 16 points in the paint, and limited their turnovers to 10 while forcing 12 miscues by Lewis.
Anthony D'Avanzo had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead the Flyers Sunday afternoon. Pischke followed with 10 points and five assists while Dre Bell and Jake Reinhart each chipped in nine points. Tech's defense limited Lewis to a 20 for 57 shooting performance from the field (35.1%). The Flyers connected on just 7 of 25 attempts from long distance (28.0%) and were 7 of 9 at the free throw line (77.8%).
The Huskies will be back on the court next Sunday when they travel to Winona State University for their third non-conference game of the season. The tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. eastern time.