HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team surpassed the century mark in points for the third time this season in a 102-81 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Lake Superior State Thursday night in the SDC Gym. The Huskies connected on 61 percent of their shots from the field while sinking 18 triples in the win over the Lakers.
"We played very well and I thought our guys were really focused from the start tonight," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "Credit Lake Superior State for playing hard and they didn't quit, which is a sign of a good club. Credit to our guys for shooting well and executing our systems throughout the course of the contest. Defensively, I thought we gave up a few too many layups and we need to work on not allowing teams to drive to the basket. Overall, it was an outstanding effort tonight by our club and I'm very happy to come away with a victory.
"Ferris State is a very athletic team and they are well coached. They have some outstanding three-point shooters and some guys that can penetrate and make things happen. We'll have to be focused again like we were tonight and be ready to go from the start in order to give ourselves a chance at another GLIAC victory."
Nearly two minutes elapsed off the clock before the first bucket was recorded by sophomore Dawson Bilski. Bilski collected the first 14 points of the night for Michigan Tech (12-4, 6-2 GLIAC), who led for the majority of the night. Twelve of Bilski's points in that opening run came from behind the arc, culminating on a trey that made it a 14-6 score with 13:27 to play in the first half.
Lake Superior State (6-10, 3-5 GLIAC) pulled to within six points at 14-8 on two free throws by C.J. Robinson at the 13:07 mark of the first half, but the Huskies would counter with the next eight points. Junior Isaac Appleby hit a triple on the ensuing possession followed by another three-point basket courtesy of Bilski and a two-point jumper out of the hand of senior Kyle Monroe. Monroe's bucket made it a 22-8 score with 11:40 to go until the intermission.
The Huskies continued to hit shots and, in the process, expand the lead over the next six minutes. With 5:56 remaining in the first half, Monroe increased the advantage to 32-12 on a jumper just outside the paint. The Lakers countered with a 9-0 scoring burst to get themselves back into contention nearing the end of the first half. Ashton Sherrell cut to the basket for a layup with 3:40 to play until the break, reducing Tech's lead to 32-21.
Junior Trent Bell helped the Huskies bump their lead back to 16 points at 39-23 with just over two minutes to play in the opening frame. Bell connected from downtown and then worked his way into the paint for a layup to account for the scoring. The Lakers dropped their deficit down to 13 points twice before halftime, but Appleby sent the Huskies into the locker room with a 43-28 edge on the strength of a layup with 54 seconds on the clock.
The Huskies kept the momentum growing at the outset of the second half due to a triple by Bell and a layup from Monroe. The field goal by Monroe took place with just over a minute gone by in the second half and resulted in a 48-28 lead for the Huskies. Lake Superior State continued to hit shots, but the Huskies had an answer each time.
The Lakers were eventually able to draw to within 14 points again at 60-46 on a three-point basket by Nigel Colvin, but that's as close as they would get the rest of the way. Bilski granted the Huskies their largest lead of the night at 73-48 on two free throws at the charity stripe with 10:06 to go in the game. Sophomore TeeAaron Powell recorded the last basket of the night leading to the final tally of 102-81.
Bilski powered the Huskies attack Thursday night with a career high 29 points, going 10 of 15 from the field and 7 for 8 from three-point range. He also added five rebounds and one steal to the stat sheet. Bell followed with a season high 19 points and a team best seven rebounds while Monroe tossed in 16 points. Junior Tommy Lucca notched 13 points and dished out seven assists while Appleby rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points in the win.
The Huskies connected on 36 of 59 shots from the field (61.0%), marking the fourth time they have made 60 percent or more of their field goals in a game this season. Tech made 18 of 24 attempts from three-point land which was just shy of the school record of 20 set on February 9, 1995 against Oakland. The Huskies went to the free throw line 19 times and converted 12 of those opportunities in the victory (63.2%). Tech out-rebounded the Lakers 33-25, dished out 24 assists, and generated 17 points off of 12 Lake Superior State turnovers.
The Lakers were led by Colvin off the bench with 28 points followed by Justin Fischer with 12 points and Ashton Sherrell with 10 points. Sherrell and Xander Okerland shared the team lead in rebounds with four apiece. Lake Superior State made 28 of 56 shots from the field (50.0%), went 9 for 22 from behind the arc (40.9%), and 16 of 20 at the free throw line (80.0%).
The Huskies are back in action Saturday afternoon when they host No. 8 Ferris State at the SDC Gym. The Bulldogs topped Northern Michigan in Marquette 61-48 Thursday night. Saturday's tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. eastern time.