HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team extended the winning streak to five games in a row with a 119-72 non-conference victory over Finlandia University Wednesday night in the SDC Gym. The Huskies surpassed the century mark in scoring for the first time since December 4, 2010 when they defeated Northern Michigan on the road 109-84. The school record for most points in a game is 127, set against Northwood on February 4, 1993.
"Finlandia deserves a lot of credit for coming in and playing loose and making some deep three-point shots," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "They shot the ball extremely well in the first half and I thought we did a better job defensively on them in the second half. It was great to see the amount of production from multiple players in the lineup, which is what we want. We improved as a team and it was great seeing the confidence that our second and third line players competed with tonight. The experience they gained is critical for when they are called upon later in the season. I was really pleased to have the opportunity to get those guys some very valuable minutes tonight.
"Sunday's game with Northern Michigan is going to be a typical rivalry battle. They can really defend and rebound well and they have a number of guys who can make plays. They are a good club and we have to be sharp and play at a high level in order to give ourselves a chance to secure another win Sunday."
Finlandia (0-10) had the hot hand early and built a 14-8 lead with just over 16 minutes to play in the first half. Dylan Underwood, who finished the contest with 29 points converted a conventional three-point play to give the Lions their largest advantage of the night. Michigan Tech (7-2) then reeled off six straight points to tie the game at 14-14 thanks to a triple by junior Dawson Bilski and a traditional three-point play from sophomore Owen White with 15:12 left in the first half.
The Lions briefly slipped in front again at 16-14 on a jumper from Devin Moultrie, but the Huskies quickly answered with six points in a row on a layup from senior Kyle Monroe, a layup by White, and two free throws courtesy of junior Isaac Appleby. The two field goals and free throws gave Tech the 20-16 edge with 14:04 remaining the opening half.
The Huskies kept the lead, but by no more than two possessions until the 7:48 mark of the first period when sophomore Carter Johnston got to the window for a layup to extend the gap to 35-29. Bilski then gave the Huskies their first double digit lead at 44-34 on a triple with just over five minutes to play until the intermission. Freshman Eric Carl eventually capped the first frame with a three-point bucket of his own, giving the Huskies a 59-44 cushion with 20 minutes in the books.
The Huskies continued the upward trend with 17-3 scoring burst to begin the second half. It culminated on a layup from Appleby, which made it a 76-47 score with just under 16 minutes to play in the contest. Tech created more and more of a separation throughout the final period and with 50 seconds to go, Carl gave the Huskies their largest lead of the night on a layup. The two-point bucket generated Wednesday's final score of 119-72.
White powered the Huskies' attack with a career high 26-points, connecting on 10 of 10 shots from the field while finding success on 4 of 4 opportunities at the free throw line. Bilski followed with 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists while Carl tossed in a career high 14 points off the bench. Monroe and Lucca chipped in 10 points each, with Lucca recording a double-double thanks to 12 assists, which is one shy of the single game school record of 13. That has been accomplished three times, with the most recent by Jeff Johnston against Oakland on February 22, 1990. Bell and Johnston had nine points each and Bell along with Lucca shared the team lead in rebounds with seven apiece.
As a team, the Huskies converted on 46 of 75 shots from the field (61.3%), were 13 of 27 from behind the arc (48.1%), and 14 of 17 at the free throw line (82.4%). The Tech record for most field goals in a game is 50 which was achieved against Northland on November 26, 1985. Tech out-rebounded the Lions 43-29, had 29 team assists, and scored 64 points in the paint. The defense forced 19 Finlandia turnovers which led to 16 points on the offensive end of the floor.
The Lions were led by Underwood who had a game high 29 points followed by Kaleb Kirksey and Jamal DeShields-Beard with 10 points each. Underwood also pulled down a game high eight rebounds and Riley Hendrickson dished out four assists. The Lions made good on 26 of 65 shots from the field (40.0%), were 13 of 33 from three-point range (39.4%), and 7 of 11 at the charity stripe (63.6%).
The Huskies will be back on the court Sunday afternoon when they host GLIAC rival Northern Michigan in the SDC Gym. The tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. eastern time.