SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team held off Lake Superior State University for a 69-63 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory on the road Saturday afternoon. The Huskies overcame an early 10-2 deficit and senior forward Kyle Monroe broke Tech's all-time scoring record of 2,360 points, which was held by Larry Grimes since 1972. Monroe and Grimes were tied with 2,360 points coming into Saturday's game.
"It is unbelievable how tough it is to win on the road in this league," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "I am really proud of our effort today and this was a big victory for us. We played well against a team that is tough to beat on their home court and we did what we needed to in order to come out on top. It was really nice to see Trent [Bell] step up and have a big game for us. That will continue to give him confidence going into big games at home next weekend against Davenport and Grand Valley State. He defended their best player Ke'Montrece Collins extremely well and that was a huge key.
"It was awesome to see Kyle [Monroe] get the school scoring record today. It's an amazing achievement to score over 2,360 career points and I'm very happy for Kyle that he was able to break it. Overall, I believe some things fell into place today. I really feel like we weren't playing just to hang on, but to take the win and close out the game strong."
"Congratulations Kyle in setting a new career scoring record," Larry Grimes said. "I think it's great. A record or an accomplishment is the byproduct of hard work, dedication and love for the game, which you have. I'm also happy for your family, teammates, coaches and Michigan Tech community because they all played a part in your success. Fifty years ago, I set a career record during my sophomore year, but it was only 1,000 points. The best four years of my life were playing basketball and being a student at Tech. Enjoy the remaining games and time in school. I wish you all the success in the world upon graduation."
Lake Superior State (11-14, 8-9 GLIAC) got the upper hand Saturday with 10 of the first 12 overall points in the contest. Ke'Montrece Collins delivered a triple for the Lakers on the first possession of the afternoon in the opening minute. Junior Dawson Bilski posted the first bucket for Michigan Tech (17-8, 11-6 GLIAC) to make it 3-2 with just over 18 minutes to play in the first half. Unfortunately, the Lakers were able to rattle off seven consecutive points to go up 10-2 at the 15:39 mark. However, senior Kyle Monroe broke the school career scoring record on a jumper to make it 10-4 with 14:07 to go in the opening period.
Still trailing 12-4 with 13:08 showing on the clock, Tech began to get on track and find a rhythm offensively. Junior Dawson Bilski hit the target on a mid-range jumper followed by a layup which turned into a conventional three-point play from junior Trent Bell. Bell then deadlocked the score at 12-12 on the strength of triple from the wing with 11:15 to play in the first half.
The Lakers prevented Tech from securing the lead until Monroe buried a trey to make it a 22-21 game with 5:07 remaining in the first half. Bell followed with a triple to extend the edge to 25-21 a few seconds later and then closed the half with another one of his six three-point buckets in the game to give Tech a 30-25 cushion at the intermission.
The Huskies extended the lead past two possessions for the first time at 37-30 when Bilski made good on a layup at the 17:45 mark of the first half. Lake Superior State then recorded the next five points to close the gap to 37-35 with just over 16 minutes to go. Fortunately, junior Isaac Appleby and Monroe teamed up for consecutive layups to keep the run from going any further.
The Lakers stayed in Tech's rearview mirror the entire way, but the Huskies had some timely shots and stops to prevent a full rally. The Huskies expanded the advantage to double digits for the first time at 60-49 by way of a Monroe layup with 4:38 to go in the second half. The Lakers chopped the lead to six points again at 66-60 with 21 seconds to go, but sophomore Owen White and Bell combined for five free throw makes in the last minute to help preserve the 69-63 win.
Bell powered the Huskies with a career high 23 points while adding five rebounds, two assists, and four blocks to the stat sheet. His previous career high was 22 points at Northern Michigan on January 26, 2019 and his six three-point makes matched a previous career high set in that game. Monroe and Bilski followed with 16 points while Appleby chipped in eight points and a team high 11 rebounds. Monroe also had seven rebounds while accumulating four assists and three steals.
As a team, the Huskies found success on 26 of 48 shots from the field (54.2%), were 8 for 21 from three-point range (38.1%), and 9 for 14 at the free throw stripe (64.3%). Tech out-rebounded the Lakers 31-25 and dropped in 32 points in the paint.
Collins led Lake Superior State with 19 points and a game high 14 rebounds followed by Nigel Colvin with 13 points. C.J. Robinson contributed 11 points and Ashton Sherrell closed the afternoon with nine points. Tech's defense limited the Lakers to a 23 for 59 shooting performance from the field (39.0%). Lake Superior State had six successful three-point buckets out of 22 chances (27.3%) and converted 11 of 14 opportunities at the free throw line (78.6%).
The Huskies return home to the SDC Gym to face Davenport University for the second time this season Thursday night. The tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. eastern time.