Michigan Tech Game Notes (PDF)
Saturday 1 p.m. vs Lewis • Sunday 1 p.m. vs McKendree • Marquette, Mich.
Michigan Tech (0-0) vs Lewis (0-0) and McKendree (0-0)
Radio: WMPL/WKMJ Mix93 FM
Audio Stream: Pasty.net
Live Video: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/nmu/
Live Stats: http://www.michigantechhuskies.com/sports/mbkb/2018-19/schedule
PRESEASON IN THE BOOKS
Michigan Tech competed in a pair of scrimmages and one exhibition game at NCAA Division I UW-Green Bay last Thursday night. The Huskies fell to the Phoenix 94-74, but played well against a solid division one program on their own floor. Tech held the lead for a good portion of the evening before the Phoenix pulled away with a late run in the last eight minutes. The Huskies led 40-35 at the break and went up by as many as 14 points in the second half. Four players ended the night with double digit point totals for Tech.
FINDING A BALANCE
One of the goals for Tech in the offseason was finding a balance and that hard work paid off in the preseason. Between the two scrimmages and the exhibition game at UW-Green Bay, Tech had four to five players reach at least 10 points or more in all three contests. Sophomore guard Dawson Bilski powered the Huskies against the Phoenix, firing in 20 points on the strength of an 8 for 12 shooting night from the floor. Senior forward Bryan Heath had 12 points and off the bench sophomore guard Isaac Appleby supplied 10 points in 20 minutes of work on the court. Freshman forward Jake Witt performed well on the big stage with 12 points and a team high eight rebounds for Tech. Eight different players had points for the Huskies while 11 different players pulled down at least one rebound in the contest.
The Huskies have good veteran leadership this season, but there is a large and talented group of younger players who will contribute to the team this season. Those players certainly made an impact in last Thursday night's exhibition at Green Bay. Bilski led the charge with 20 points, but Witt along with fellow freshmen Kyle Clow and Owen White logged big minutes, which will pay dividends as the season progresses. Clow finished the night with seven points and four rebounds while White chipped in six points, pulled down four boards, and dished out two assists. In addition, freshmen Elisha Coleman, Jalen Carter, Carter Johnston, Eric Carl, and TeeAaron Powell logged important minutes against NCAA Division I competition.
GLIAC PRESEASON POLL
Michigan Tech was picked to finish third in the GLIAC North Division for the second year in a row, hauling in 43 points in the Preseason Coaches' Poll announced in October by the conference office. Defending NCAA Division II National Champion and 2018 GLIAC Champion Ferris State earned the top spot in the poll with 58 points and nine first place votes. Northern Michigan checked in second with 47 points and three first place votes followed by the Huskies at No. 3. Lake Superior State was fourth with 34 points, Parkside fifth with 23 points, and Purdue Northwest rounds out the division sixth with 11 points. Over in the South Division, Ashland owns the No. 1 position on the strength of 60 points and 10 first place votes in the poll. Grand Valley State is second with 51 points and two first place votes while Davenport rounds out the top three with 36 points. Saginaw Valley State and Wayne State find themselves in a tie for fourth with each program receiving 27 points. Northwood is sixth in the South Division rankings with 16 points.
Michigan Tech will face Lewis for the ninth time in program history and it will be the third consecutive year the clubs have met in the non-conference portion of the schedule. The all-time series, which began in 1997, is tied 4-4 going into Saturday's matchup in Marquette. Tech though has won each of the past two years and three of the last four in the series. The Huskies hosted the Flyers in the SDC last year and pulled out an 87-80 victory. Tech had four players in double figures, led by Kyle Monroe with 32 points and nine rebounds followed by Heath with 22 points. In 2016, the Huskies won a thriller in overtime at Lewis 80-75. Seven of the eight games in the series have been decided by eight points or less. The Flyers won the first ever meeting 78-73 at home on December 13th, 1997. Sunday's matchup against McKendree will be the first in the all-time series. McKendree is a relatively new member of NCAA Division II after a move up from the NAIA.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Saturday's game will be the first in the regular season for Lewis University, who competed at Illinois State in an exhibition game last Tuesday. The Flyers fell by the final of 80-58 and were led by Delaney Blaylock with 15 points and six rebounds. Lewis, a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, finished the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 15-14 and a 10-8 mark in the conference. The Flyers won their last four regular season games before losing to Truman State 103-56 in the first round of the GLVC Tournament. Blaylock is the top returning scorer from a year ago, where he averaged 15.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Adam Pischke is also back after averaging 11.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. He guided the Flyers in assists with a team high 72. As a team, Lewis fired in 75.0 points per game and limited opponents to 72.1 points each contest.
McKendree will begin their season against Northern Michigan on Saturday before meeting the Huskies Sunday afternoon. The Bearcats lost at NCAA Division I Northwestern 83-44 in an exhibition contest last Friday. Nate Michael had nine points followed by Nolan Gerling with six points and 10 rebounds. McKendree finished the 2017-18 campaign with an overall record of 12-16 and a 3-15 mark in the GLVC. Michael is the top returning scorer for the Bearcats after securing 14.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per night a year ago. Nolan Gerling is also back followed a season the saw the center record 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. McKendree is led by first year Head Coach Chris Foster who spent the previous four seasons as the head coach at Truman State.
Kevin Luke, the winningest coach in Michigan Tech basketball history begins his 25th season leading the Huskies in 2018-19. He has earned a plethora of accolades since his appointment as the program's 11th head coach in May of 1994. Luke has guided the Huskies to five Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles, earned eight NCAA Tournament berths and won his 300th game in a 74-72 victory over Grand Valley State on March 2, 2011. He reached the 400 win mark on January 19th, 2017 with an 83-72 win over Northwood at home. He owns an impressive 422-270 overall record, including a 283-182 mark in conference play. His winning percentage of .610 ranks as the best in Husky hoop annals.
The Huskies will take a week off before traveling to the University of Minnesota Duluth for a non-conference battle Sunday November 18th at 4 p.m. eastern time. The Bulldogs lost to Minnesota 109-53 in an exhibition game last Thursday and begin the 2018-19 regular season Saturday when they host the College of St. Scholastica. Minnesota Duluth then travels to Northern Michigan on Tuesday November 13th and then Wisconsin-Superior on the 15th before hosting the Huskies.