HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team had one of its best performances of the season from start to finish on Saturday, turning in an 86-57 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Lake Superior State at the SDC Wood Gym. The win was the fourth in a row for the Huskies and their first win by more than 25 points since February, 20th 2014. That day, Tech topped Northwood on the road 73-44.
"Lake Superior State is a high powered offense and that was a concern for us going into the game," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "I want to credit our guys for playing tough and playing hard. I thought most of all we had some good gap help on defense and were able to somewhat contain them. Offensively, when and if we shoot well we are going to give ourselves a chance in every game. Our players came to shoot today and once again credit to our players because they executed our systems and made shots."
Michigan Tech (10-8, 8-3 GLIAC) and Lake Superior State (10-5, 7-4 GLIAC) jostled back and forth through the first eight minutes of Saturday's game. The Lakers moved out in front when Michael Nicholson drove to the basket for the opening layup of the contest. Senior Jordan Chartier would answer a few seconds later when he dialed in a trey from behind the arc to make it a 3-2 score with not even a minute gone by in the first half.
With 12:52 to go in the opening period, the Lakers would grab their largest lead of the afternoon at 12-9 on a triple by Ke'Montrece Collins. Sophomore Kyle Monroe then sprinted down the floor for the Huskies to answer with a layup followed by a jumper from downtown courtesy of freshman Tommy Lucca. Lucca's bucket gave Tech a 14-12 edge with 12:01 left until the break. It would be a lead they never relinquished.
Lake Superior State remained within two possessions until Monroe found the target on two more shots from long distance, giving the Huskies a 22-14 advantage with 8:58 left in the first half. Tech went up by double digits for the first time at 28-17 on a 15-foot jumper by Monroe and then the Huskies found themselves up by 15 points at 33-18 with 5:13 to play in the half. Chartier sank one of his seven three points as well as it being one of Tech's 18 trey's which is a season high.
The Lakers sliced the gap to 10 points again at 36-26 on a Blake Marquardt layup with 2:55 on the first half clock, but it's as close as they would get the rest of the afternoon. Senior Jason Hawke found the bottom of the net on a jumper right before the buzzer sounded to end the half, sending the Huskies into the locker room with a 42-29 lead. Tech continued to create more separation throughout the final 20 minutes and eventually held a 32-point lead at 86-54 with 1:32 to go after a three-point basket by sophomore Sean Clarey.
Monroe and Chartier powered Tech with 21 points apiece in the win on Saturday over Lake Superior State. Monroe was 7 of 14 from the field and Chartier was successful on 7 of his 12 looks at the basket. Monroe also grabbed 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Lucca ended the afternoon with 14 points and was 5 of 9 from the floor followed by sophomore Bryan Heath who chipped in 10 points and a team high six assists.
The Huskies found their mark on 30 of 58 shots from the field (51.7%), they were 18 of 36 from three-point range (50.0%), and 8 of 9 at the free throw line (88.9%). Tech was the top three-point and free throw shooting team in the GLIAC coming into the weekend. The Huskies out-rebounded the Lakers 42-33 and scored 12 points in the paint.
Michael Smutny tossed in a team high 14 points off the bench to pace Lake Superior State followed by Collins with 12 points. Carson Manger and Collins were the top rebounders with five boards each and Josh Goldschmidt dealt out four assists. The Lakers were limited to a 16 of 56 shooting effort from the field (28.6%), 7 of 29 from three-point range (24.1%), and 18 of 29 at the charity stripe (62.1%).
The Huskies will be back in action on Thursday night when they host Grand Valley State in the SDC Wood Gym at 7:30 p.m. Tech and Grand Valley are both tied for second in the GLIAC North Division standings.