WINONA, Minn. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team wrapped up the non-conference portion of the 2017-18 schedule Tuesday night on the road, falling to Winona State 98-66. The Huskies and Warriors went toe to toe through much of the first half before Winona State closed the opening period with a 19-2 scoring run. It created a double digit deficit that Tech was unable to overcome.
"I thought we had a pretty good game plan going in, but they changed things up and hurt us with three-point shooting," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "Our guys played and competed hard tonight and didn't quit playing, but we have to be tougher in order to be successful. We need a break and the time off will allow us to regroup and get ready for a good Ashland team on January 4th."
Winona State (8-4) struck quickly Tuesday night when Tommy Gathje got to the basket for a layup 26 seconds into the action. Corey Jeffs then gave the Warriors a 5-0 edge on the first of what would end up being 16 triples for Winona State in the contest.
Michigan Tech (7-5) got on the board courtesy of a jump shot by senior A.J. Grazulis at the 17:41 mark of the first half. Winona State then bumped their lead to 10-4 with just over 16 minutes on the clock, but junior Kyle Monroe drained back to back three-point buckets to knot the score at 10 apiece. The Huskies then slipped in front at 14-13 when sophomore Ryan Schuller cashed into two shots at the free throw line followed by a layup with 14:04 to go in the first half.
During the next couple of minutes, the two teams traded baskets until the Warriors constructed a 27-20 lead on a Jeffs triple at the 11:39 mark. Tech called timeout to regroup and the result was consecutive field goals by Monroe to bring the Huskies to within one possession again at 27-24 with just under 11 minutes left before halftime.
The Warriors were able to keep the Huskies at arm's length until Monroe evened the score at 39-39 on a jumper from behind the arc with 5:13 left until the intermission. Unfortunately, Tech was limited to just a pair of additional points during the final stretch of the first half.
Meanwhile, Winona State's offense stayed red hot and generated 19 points in that same span of time to lead 58-41 at the break. The Warriors then tacked on two quick three-pointers from Gathje to being the second half and the Huskies were unable to get back within striking distance the rest of the night.
Monroe paced the Huskies' offense with 35 points and seven rebounds followed by junior Bryan Heath with 10 points. Schuller tacked on seven points while freshman Isaac Appleby chipped in four points and led the team with five assists. As team, Tech connected on 24 of 55 shots from the field (43.6%), were 6 of 21 beyond the three-point line (28.6%), and converted 12 of 19 attempts at the charity stripe (63.2%).
Gathje fired in a game high 22 points for the Warriors while a trio of players including Caleb Wagner, Connor Flack, and Mason Domask had 16 points each. Jeffs rounded out the double digit scorers with 15 points in Tuesday's game. Gathje was the top rebounder with nine boards while Wagner dished out a game high 11 assists.
The Warriors found the mark on 36 of 58 shots from the field (62.1%), were 16 of 30 from three-point range (53.3%), and 10 of 12 at the free throw line (83.3%). Winona State also had the advantage on the boards with 37 rebounds.
The Huskies will return to the court after the Holiday break when they entertain Ashland University in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference battle on Thursday January 4th at the SDC Gym. The tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.