HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team led from start to finish Saturday night in an 82-57 non-conference victory against the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in game one of the GLIAC/GLVC Challenge in the SDC. The Huskies flew out of the gate on a 10-0 run and then withstood a Rangers scoring burst midway through the contest before pulling away in the second half.
"Overall I thought it was a good game for us and was pleased with our defense at the start," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "Parkside was a little unsettled in the beginning, but got really good late in the first half and made us look pretty bad. Overall I'm happy, but for us to be a top notch GLIAC team we have to keep our concentration and get a little better on defense. I was pleased with our rebounding and our shooting percentages and overall it was a good performance.
"I was really excited and proud of Dillon (Gordon) and how he stepped up. He took advantage of his opportunity tonight and was outstanding. It's really nice to see when a player is called upon that he's ready to go and that's a big key going forward for our team."
The Michigan Tech (1-0) defense forced a turnover thanks to a steal by junior Bryan Heath on UW-Parkside's first possession of the game and quickly turned it into points. Junior Kyle Monroe delivered one of his two triples off an assist by senior A.J. Grazulis to make it a 3-0 score 45 seconds in to the game. Just over a minute later, sophomore Tommy Lucca drove to the basket for his first field goal of the season followed by a layup from Grazulis and Monroe's second three pointer to give the Huskies a 10-0 edge at the 16:46 mark of the first half.
Michigan Tech built the advantage to 14 points at 26-12 thanks to a couple of free throws by Lucca with 11:17 remaining in the first half. The lead then grew to 33-17 on a trey out of the hand of Lucca with 7:44 showing on the clock and it appeared the Huskies may pull away even further to close the first half.
However, UW-Parkside (0-1) picked up their game and began to chip away at the gap the Huskies had created. Adam Bonk dialed in a triple with just under four minutes to go in the first that trimmed the advantage to 33-25. Then another Bonk trey made it a five-point contest at 35-30 with 1:52 to go until the break. The Huskies called timeout and a Lucca layup would prove to be the final points of the half, sending Tech into the locker room with a 37-30 lead at halftime.
The Rangers managed to stay within striking distance until about the 15-minute mark of the second half when Tech began to pull away for good. Leading 43-36, sophomore Isaac Appleby connected on a mid-range jumper that kick started a 13-0 Tech scoring run. Senior Tanner Uren filled up a triple and a Dillon Gordon layup with 13:30 on the clock put the Huskies at the 50-point threshold. Two Gordon triples and a Monroe layup with 11:17 to play gave the Huskies their largest lead of the night to that point (58-36) and they never looked back.
Gordon finished the night with a game high 20 points off the bench for Tech. Gordon was 7 for 9 from the field and 6 for 8 from behind the three-point arc. Monroe followed with 18 points thanks to sinking 8 of 11 attempts from the field and he also led the team in rebounding with nine boards. Lucca tacked on 14 points and Uren rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points and five assists. Appleby just missed getting in doubles figures with eight points and six rebounds in the victory.
As a team, the Huskies were successful on 33 of 58 shot attempts from the field (56.9%), were 12 of 24 from three-point land (50.0%), and 4 for 4 at the charity stripe (100.0%). Tech also dominated the glass, hauling down 36 rebounds compared to just 23 by the Rangers. The Huskies also distributed the ball well as evidenced by 22 total assists.
The Rangers had two players in double figures, led by Joe Borcia with 11 points and Bonk with 10 points. Borcia was also UW-Parkside's top rebounder with six boards which were all on the defensive end of the floor. Linwood Lee and Jonah Matulle each chipped in nine points for the Rangers Saturday night. The Tech defense limited UW-Parkside to a just 19 field goal makes out of 52 total attempts (36.5%).
The Huskies will be back on the floor Sunday afternoon when they host Lewis at 4 p.m. in the SDC Gymnasium. Lewis fell to Northern Michigan 79-78 in Saturday's other game in the GLIAC/GLVC Challenge.