HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team closed out the 2019 calendar year with a dominating 117-60 non-conference victory over Algoma University (Ontario) Saturday afternoon at the SDC Gym. The Huskies surpassed the 100-point threshold for the second time in the last three games as they moved to 8-3 on the season.
"It was really nice to have everybody get another opportunity to play today," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "I appreciate Algoma for being willing to come here and play. We had a good week of practice leading up to the game and that was critical for our team coming off our previous game. We got back to playing Tech basketball today and that was a great way to leave for the Holiday break. I really appreciated our effort as a team and a game like this can give our young players some confidence for when they are called upon to go into games coming down the stretch.
"We have to enjoy the Holiday's for a few days before we face two more really good teams in Wayne State and Ashland to start January. Those two games will be typical tough GLIAC battles and by rule we'll have three practices to get ready leading into the Thursday game against the Warriors. Everybody in the country at the division two level has to do it and I feel fortunate to be at home for that reason."
Michigan Tech (8-3) powered out of the gate with a 9-0 scoring burst to begin Saturday's battle with Algoma (2-10). Junior Dawson Bilski had the hot hand early for the Huskies, pouring in the first nine points of the afternoon. Bilski got Tech on the board with a triple in the opening minute and followed that up with a four-point play on the ensuing possession. Bilski then made it 9-0 Tech on a layup with 17:42 to play in the first half.
Josiah Harper put the Thunderbirds on the board for the first time when he got to the basket for a layup with 17:26 on the clock. The Huskies then created a 12-point lead about 90 seconds later on a dunk courtesy of sophomore Owen White, resulting in a 14-2 Tech advantage. Algoma then found a bit of a rhythm and slowly closed the gap over the next few minutes. A Nicholas Gehlen layup brought the Thunderbirds to within six points of the Huskies at 26-20 with 9:40 remaining in the first half.
However, the Huskies countered with a 19-2 scoring run to take control of the contest late in the first half. Bilski ignited the attack with a triple followed shortly thereafter by a three-point field goal from junior Isaac Appleby. Four different Tech players had points during that stretch, with senior Kyle Monroe capping the run with a three-point basket at the 4:55 mark of the first half to make it a 45-22 score.
The Huskies then posted 15 of the final 16 points in the opening period to a carry a 64-28 lead into the locker room at halftime. The 64-point total for a half was just five points shy of the school record of 69 points, which was set against Northwood on February 4, 1993.
The Huskies continued to build their lead throughout the second half Saturday afternoon. The biggest cushion of the contest occurred at the 1:03 mark when freshman Devin Schmitz filled up a jumper from downtown to make it a 116-55 score. Sophomore TeeAaron Powell recorded the final point of the game for the Huskies at the free throw line with 35 seconds left on the clock.
Monroe poured in a season high 30 points, connecting on 12 of 16 shots from the field while adding three rebounds and a pair of blocked shots to the stat sheet. Bilski followed with 17 points, freshman Eric Carl had 15 points, three rebounds, four assists, and four steals, and White rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points. Powell generated a season best nine points with junior Trent Bell and Appleby sending in seven points each. Junior Tommy Lucca had a game high eight assists and five rebounds.
The Huskies made over 60 percent of their shots in a game for the third time this season, sending in 46-of 73 total attempts (63.0%) on Saturday afternoon. Tech made 16 of 28 chances from long distance (57.1%) and went 9 for 13 at the charity stripe (69.2%). The Huskies out-rebounded the Thunderbirds 38-29 and dished out 29 total assists for the second time this season. Tech's defense forced 20 turnovers which led to 32 points on the offensive end of the floor. Meanwhile, the offense turned the ball over just four times which was just one shy of the school record of three set against four different opponents.
Vincent Falardeau paced Algoma with 16 points followed by Nicholas Gehlen with 14 points on Saturday. Maxime Bellony tossed in nine points and had a game high eight rebounds for the Thunderbirds. Harper and Daniel Humphrey chipped in eight points each for Algoma. The Thunderbirds connected on 19 of 53 shots from the field (35.8%), were 6 of 20 from beyond the three-point arc (30.0%), and were 16 of 21 at the free throw line (76.2%).
The Huskies continue their seven game homestand on Thursday January 2 when they host Wayne State in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest in the SDC Gym. Tech will then play Ashland on Saturday January 4 to wrap up the weekend. Thursday's tip-off against the Warriors is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time.