HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team topped the century mark for the second game in a row with a 102-90 upset win over eighth ranked Ferris State in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference showdown at the SDC Gym Saturday. The Huskies jumped on the Bulldogs early with a 6-0 run to begin the game and withstood a pair of charges from Ferris State to hang on for the win.
"It was an excellent week for our team and I'm really proud of our players for turning in two outstanding performances against very good clubs," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "This week I feel like they were really believing in us and that translated to success on the court. We played with a lot of confidence and that was exciting to see. I thought our guys handled Ferris State's pressure well and did a great job picking and choosing when we could shoot, take a layup, and when we had to execute. We showed a lot of discipline against their defense and executing our systems.
"We'll enjoy this victory tonight and get ready to play two more great teams in Grand Valley State and Davenport next week. It will be a tough test, but we have a lot of confidence going down there. Really excited about the two wins here at home this week and that gives us a lot of momentum as we embark on this stretch of four straight contests on the road."
Michigan Tech (13-4, 7-2 GLIAC) picked up right where they left off Thursday when junior Dawson Bilski dialed in a triple on the first possession of Saturday's game against Ferris State (18-3, 7-2 GLIAC). Senior Kyle Monroe notched a free throw and then sliced his way to the basket for a layup to make it 6-0 with 17:43 to play in the first half.
The Bulldogs got their first bucket from Dorian Aluyi at the 17:12 mark of the first half, but they would trail for the entire game. There ended up being zero ties and zero lead changes over the course of 40 minutes. Tech's lead remained at four points 17-13 with just over 13 minutes to go until the break, but shortly thereafter the Huskies began to create some separation.
Bilski found the bottom of the net from long distance and then followed that up with a mid-range jumper to make it a 22-13 score. Tech bolstered the advantage to double digits for the first time when sophomore Owen White connected on a mid-range jump shot of his own, resulting in a 24-13 lead for the Huskies with 11:33 to play in the first half.
Leading 35-23 with under eight minutes to go until the break, the Huskies engineered a 9-0 run to widen the gap to 44-23. Monroe and Bilski teamed up for back-to-back field goals followed by a jump shot from junior Isaac Appleby, which was setup by his own steal. Junior Trent Bell capped the scoring burst with a triple and suddenly the Huskies were up by 21 points.
Tech's largest lead of the contest came at the 2:58 mark in the first half when Monroe connected from downtown to make it a 52-26 score. The Huskies eventually carried a 54-32 advantage into the locker room at halftime when Deng Reng dropped in a layup for Ferris State right before the buzzer.
The Bulldogs made a big push to get back into contention with a 16-2 run to begin the second half of Saturday's game. Walt Kelser capped it with a layup and all of a sudden Tech's lead was cut back to single digits at 56-48 with 15:56 to go in the contest. Fortunately, the Huskies were able to counter with a huge 12-2 run of their own to push the lead back to 18 points at 68-50 with 13:21 remaining in the second. Junior Tommy Lucca had a trey to ignite the run which culminated on another triple courtesy of freshman Eric Carl.
The Huskies still had to withstand one more final charge by the Bulldogs in the last three minutes of the second half. Cole Walker dunked the basketball following an offensive rebound, which cut Tech's lead to 91-84 with just over two minutes to go in the game. White answered with a clutch layup on the ensuing possession, but it went back to a seven-point game at 93-86 on two free throws by Aluyi a few seconds later.
The two sides exchanged more free throws, leaving the score at 95-88 with 1:43 on the clock. However, the Huskies were able to seal the win by outscoring the Ferris State 7-2 in the closing moments of the contest. Bell cashed in a huge layup followed by free throws from Lucca and Bilski. Bilski tossed in the final bask of the night when he made his way to the rim for a layup off an assist by Bell.
Monroe guided the Huskies with 28 points and five rebounds followed by Bilski with 21 points and five rebounds of his own. Appleby had a solid game off the bench thanks to 17 points, a team high nine rebounds, and five assists. Lucca rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points and a game high eight assists. White chipped in nine points and Bell along with Carl finished with eight points in Tech's victory.
As a team, the Huskies fired in 33 of 55 shots from the field (60.0%), were 17 of 24 from three-point land (70.8%), and 19 of 24 at the free throw line (79.2%). Tech players combined for 25 assists and created 18 points off of 10 Ferris State turnovers.
D'Angelo Hughes had a game high 31 points for Ferris State followed by Aluyi with 14 points. Jeremiah Washington and Greg Williams each delivered 12 points onto the stat sheet for the Bulldogs. Cole Walker tacked on nine points and grabbed a game high 10 rebounds in Saturday's game. The Bulldogs found success on 35 of 68 shots from the field (51.5%), wee 10 of 23 from three-point range (43.5%), and 10 for 12 at the charity stripe (83.3%). They had the edge in rebounding 34-28.
The Huskies are back in action Thursday night when they travel to Grand Valley State for another GLIAC showdown. The tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. eastern time.