GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team held back Grand Valley State for a 78-68 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory Thursday night at the DeltaPlex in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Huskies have now won four straight contests and remained unbeaten in conference matchups.
"We've had a lot of tough games here at Grand Valley State through the years, but tonight we were able to come down here and get a victory," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "Our players prepared well and did everything we asked them to do. We got better tonight and we still have some things to work on, but I'm really proud of our effort.
"We brought nine players with us this week and all of them contributed to this win. I thought our offense was much more consistent tonight, but we knew Grand Valley State would keep battling to end. Credit to our guys for keeping the intensity up and finishing the game strong."
Michigan Tech (6-3, 3-0 GLIAC) struck first Thursday night when junior Bryan heath connected on a mid-range jumper 17 seconds into the first half. Grand Valley State (3-6, 0-3 GLIAC) tied the contest at 2-2 on the ensuing possession after jumper from Jake Van Tubbergen fell through the basket.
However, the Huskies would counter with a 10-0 scoring run on their way to a double digit lead with 14:26 left in the first half. Heath dialed in a triple to make it 5-2 at the 18:19 mark followed by a layup from freshman Isaac Appleby and conventional three-point play from junior Kyle Monroe. Monroe would end up recording his second straight double-double by the time the 40 minutes had expired.
The Lakers clawed back to within one point at 12-11 on a three-point play from Van Tubbergen with 11:24 to go in the opening half. Monroe had an answer though when he converted another three-point play to make it 15-11. Monroe fired in three more jumpers and with just under nine minutes remaining in the half, the Huskies had bumped their lead back to eight points at 21-13.
Tech's advantage went back to double digits at 29-17 thanks to one of five triples by senior Dillon Gordon with 5:58 on the first half clock. Monroe eventually sent the Huskies into the locker room at the break with a 44-26 advantage after a pair of free throws in the final minute.
Although Tech would lead for just over 38 of the 40 minutes Thursday night and never trail, the Lakers mounted a comeback in the second half, drawing as close as seven points three times. Van Tubbergen made things a little too close for comfort with 2:22 to go when he converted a layup to bring GVSU to within seven points at 68-61.
However, Gordon came back down the floor and found the target from three-point land on the very next possession to send the momentum back to the Huskies. The Lakers were unable to counter with points and following a Monroe defensive rebound, Heath dropped in a jumper with 1:16 to play to cap a small but crucial 5-0 run by the Huskies. Heath's basket to made it a 75-63 score at that pint and helped seal the win.
Monroe powered the Huskies with a game high 28 points and thanks to 13 rebounds recorded his second straight double-double and third total for the season. Monroe did the majority of his damage at the free throw line where has successful on all 16 of his attempts.
Three other Huskies had double digit point totals Thursday, led by Heath with 19 points on the strength of a 6 for 8 shooting performance form the field. Gordon ended the contest with 15 points and Appleby reached double figures with 10 points. Senior Tanner Uren dished out a team high six assists in the victory.
Michigan Tech closed the evening converting on 22 of 45 shots from the field (48.9%), found the mark on 8 of 15 attempts from behind the arc (53.3%), and were 26 of 30 from the free throw line (86.7%). The Huskies dealt out 16 total assists and grabbed 32 total rebounds.
Lance Dollison paced the Lakers with 14 points, Van Tubbergen tossed in 13 points, Myles Miller notched 12 points, and Zach West chipped in 11 points for GVSU. Van Tubbergen was the leading rebounder with seven boards and defensively led the Lakes with two steals. GVSU ended the game making 26 of 63 shots from the field (41.3%).
The Huskies will be back on the court Saturday when they travel to Purdue Northwest for another GLIAC contest. The tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.