HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team got back on track Saturday afternoon with a 68-57 non-conference win against Concordia St. Paul in the SDC Gymnasium. The Huskies overcame a slow start in the first half to rally and snap a three game losing skid.
"It always nice to snap a losing streak even if it's one game," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "I was really happy for the guys in the locker room because they needed this win. I'm happy we won, but looking forward to Monday because we have some things to work on in order to get better. We had a great defensive effort tonight, but are still having some lulls here and there in our offense that need to be ironed out. To hold a team like Concordia St. Paul to 57 points though is a great effort because of their ability to put a lot of points on the board."
Concordia St. Paul (1-5) jumped out to a quick start and controlled the game during the first six plus minutes of the opening half. The Golden Bears opened up a 17-7 lead on a triple by Bryndan Matthews with 13:43 on the clock. About a minute later, Michigan Tech (3-3) began to chip away at the deficit when junior Kyle Monroe drove to the basket for a layup to make it a 17-9 score.
Senior's Tanner Uren and Dillon Gordon dialed in some key three-point buckets that helped the Huskies eventually pull in front 21-19 with 6:32 to play in the first half. The Golden bears briefly snuck in front again at 22-21 on a trey by Sam Siganos before junior Bryan Heath connected on one of his seven triples in the game to give the Huskies the lead at 24-22. Monroe increased the Huskies edge to ten-points at 37-27 with just over a minute to go in the half and Tech would eventually carry a 37-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Huskies fired in the first four points of the second half on layups by Monroe and freshman Isaac Appleby, creating a 41-29 gap in Tech's favor. However, the Golden Bears would hang around and managed to regain the upper hand at 49-48 on a layup by Ted Brown with 7:31 to play in the contest.
With the game deadlocked at 50-50 following a Brandon McRoy free throw at the 6:49 mark, Heath turned the tide in the Huskies favor for good with back to back three-point buckets. The Huskies rebuilt their double digit advantage again at 62-52 courtesy of another shot by Heath that was on target from behind the arc with 2:07 to play. The Golden Bears drew to within seven points once down the stretch, but that's as close as they would get.
Heath powered the Huskies' offense on Saturday by scoring 28 points which matched a career high for the junior guard. Heath dialed in 10 of 16 shots from the field, was 7 of 10 from three-point land, and converted his only free throw attempt. Heath also added five rebounds, three assists, a steal and blocked shot to his stat totals. Heath also posted 28 points against Wisconsin-Parkside on November 13th, 2016.
Monroe followed Heath with 19 points while Uren chipped in with eight points and six rebounds in the victory.
As a team, the Huskies were successful on 23 of 51 shots from the field (45.1%), 13 of 28 from three-point range (46.4%), and 9 of 13 at the charity stripe (69.2%). The Huskies defense forced 13 Concordia St. Paul turnovers while limiting their own miscues to just seven.
Matthews paced the Golden Bears with 15 points and six rebounds followed by Brown who dropped in 10 points while hauling down five boards. Concordia St. Paul's offense was limited to a 20 of 54 shooting performance from the field (37.0%) by the Tech defense. The Golden Bears ended the contest 9 of 20 from behind the arc (45.0%) and 8 of 12 at the free throw line (66.7%). Concordia St. Paul out-rebounded the Huskies 37-28.
The Huskies will return to the court on Thursday when they begin the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference portion of the schedule against Saginaw Valley State Thursday night in the SDC. The tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.