MIDLAND, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team powered past Northwood University Thursday night for a 78-61 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference road victory. The Huskies swept the season series with the Timberwolves and have now claimed wins in seven of their last eight games.
"We struggled a bit and missed some shots in the first half, but I thought we came back strong in the second half to get the win which is always tough to do on the road," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "We were able to get our shots to fall in the second half, which enabled us to get some separation. To our guy's credit, I thought we executed well. Kyle [Monroe] did a nice job down low and Tommy [Lucca] had some big shots for us as well. Jordan [Chartier] played well and Bryan [Heath] had a solid game and made some three pointers which was nice to see. Now we have to rest up and get ready for another tough game on Saturday at Lake Superior State."
Northwood (5-19, 3-12 GLIAC) jumped out of the gate Thursday night by establishing a 7-2 advantage in the first two minutes of the contest. Matt Crowl had back to back layups and Brad Schaub dialed in a trey to account for the scoring. Junior A.J. Grazulis recorded the first field goal for Michigan Tech (13-9, 11-4 GLIAC) for the only points in that sequence.
Following the Schaub triple, the Huskies would generate the next five points to deadlock the score at 7-7 with 17:38 left in the first half. Sophomore Kyle Monroe converted two free throws and was on target from three-point range for the equalizer. The Timberwolves briefly went ahead by two before senior Jordan Chartier dialed in a triple of his own to gives the Huskies their first edge at 11-9 with 15:28 on the clock.
The two teams exchanged baskets on the next three possessions until Tech got consecutive field goals from Chartier and freshman Tommy Lucca to make it a 17-13 score with 13:15 to play until the break. The Huskies would never trail from that point forward. Tech went up by six points at 23-17 on a layup courtesy of sophomore Bryan Heath with 8:13 on the clock. Both offenses then went on a draught and nearly four minutes went by before the next points were put on the board.
The Timberwolves eventually tied the game again at 30-30 on a three-point bucket by Zach Allread with 34 seconds left in the first half. However, the Huskies were able to take some much needed momentum and a 33-30 lead into the locker at halftime thanks to a Lucca long range jumper right before the buzzer.
Lucca's basket ended up sparking a 13-0 run by the Huskies to begin the second half. Heath dropped in a jumper for the first basket of the final period followed by a trey and layup from Monroe. Heath had the honor of capping the scoring burst with another triple to make it a 43-30 score with 16:11 to go in the game. Tech maintained a relatively safe distance in front the rest of the way although the Timberwolves prevented the Huskies from completely pulling away until late in the second half.
Northwood brought the gap down to single digits three times in the second half and were within nine points of Tech at 66-57 with 5:55 to go after a layup from David Jelinek. However, Heath and Lucca took the wind out of Northwood's sails by drilling back to back three pointers with 4:37 to play, resulting in a 72-57 advantage. The Huskies closed the contest and secured the 78-61 win with a 6-0 run, powered by a layup from Heath and four free throws by Lucca.
Monroe paced the Huskies with 28 points Thursday night by connecting on 11 of 18 shots from the field. He was successful on four attempts from behind the arc and led the team with seven rebounds. Monroe is now averaging 20.6 points per game and is ranked fourth in the GLIAC in scoring. Lucca followed Monroe with 21 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out four assists. Heath closed the game in double figures with 14 points and Chartier added 11 points and a team high seven assists.
As a team, the Huskies were on target with 29 of 57 shots from the field (50.9%), were 11 of 24 from three-point range (45.8%), and 9 of 11 at the charity stripe (81.8%). Rebounds were even at 31 apiece, but Tech forced 11 Northwood turnovers which led to 10 points on the offensive end of the floor. The Huskies, who lead the GLIAC in fewest turnovers per game, had only five miscues on Thursday night.
Crowl guided the Timberwolves with 15 points followed by elinek and Kyle Lamotte with eight points each. Crowl also led Northwood on the glass with six rebounds. The Timberwolves made 26 of 55 attempts from the field (47.3%), were 5 of 16 from three-point range (31.3%), and 4 of 7 at the free throw line (57.1%).
The Huskies will wrap up their three game road trip on Saturday when they head to Lake Superior State for another GLIAC battle. Tech won the first meeting of the season with the Lakers 86-57 on January 21st in Houghton. Saturday's tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.