DETROIT, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team got back in the win column Thursday night with 76-66 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory on the road at Wayne State. The Huskies built some confidence and momentum early with an 8-2 to run to start the game before outscoring the Warriors 46-32 in the second half to notch the victory.
"The first thing we said in locker room after the game is that it feels good to get a win like this on the road to break this streak we've been on," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "I'm really happy for our players because they executed our game plan and our systems well. We had a really good second half and I felt good about that. For the most part, we took care of the basketball like we needed to and made our free throws down the stretch. We also got some huge stops in the final minutes when Wayne State was making a run which was big."
Junior Kyle Monroe, who has now scored 32 or more points in a game five times this season thanks to 34 Thursday night, got Michigan Tech (8-9, 5-5 GLIAC) on the board with jumpers in the first two possessions of the contest. Junior Bryan Heath knocked down a jump shot as well and then Monroe capped the initial scoring burst with a layup at the 17:34 mark.
The Huskies held the lead until Ronald Booth gave Wayne State (8-7, 6-4 GLIAC) the edge at 11-10 for the first time on a triple with 14:39 on the first half clock. Sophomore Ryan Schuller converted a layup to grant Tech a 12-11 lead momentarily, but the Warriors proceeded to go on an 8-0 run to surge in front 19-12 following a jumper by Chuck Key.
Tech rallied to regain the lead at 25-23 on a jumper by Heath with 6:20 left, but Ronald Booth didn't allow the Huskies to stay in front for long. Booth's triple made it 26-25 and began a sequence where both sides traded baskets until the final two minutes of the half. With the game deadlocked at 30-30, Latin Davis dropped in a layup followed by points in the paint from Key to give the Warriors a 34-30 edge at halftime.
Tech took the lead back at 35-34 with five unanswered points to kick off the second half. The Huskies quietly increased the gap to seven points at 44-37 on a jumper by senior Dillon Gordon with 15:33 to go and wouldn't relinquish the lead the rest of the night. Freshman Dawson Bilski put Tech ahead 54-44 on a triple midway through the second half followed by a Monroe free throw to make it an 11-point contest at 55-44.
However, Wayne State would not go quietly and during the next few minutes managed to climb back to within two points at 59-57 with just over five minutes to play. Booth sized up a trio of free throws following a Tech foul to close it down to a one possession score.
Monroe was able to bump the Huskies advantage up to four points again at 63-59 on a pair of free throws with 4:21 showing on the clock. Heath then created some more separation at 66-59 thanks to a triple and from there the defense took over. Tech kept the Warriors scoreless for nearly four minutes and then iced the game away at the free throw line in the final minute.
Monroe recorded his game high 34 points by connecting on 9 of 17 shots from the field and 16 of 17 opportunities at the free throw line. He also grabbed a team high eight rebounds, dished out four assists, and came up with two steals on the defensive end of the floor. Heath added 14 points and six rebounds while sophomore Tommy Lucca reach double figure point totals for the second time in as many games with 13 on Thursday night.
As a team, the Huskies were successful on 25 of 52 shots from the field (48.1%), 6 of 12 from behind the arc (50.05%), and 20 of 24 from the free throw line (83.3%). Tech's defense also forced 11 turnovers by the Wayne State offense.
Key had 25 points to pace the Warriors, but only had seven points in the second half. George Spencer followed with 12 points and a game high 13 rebounds on his way to the double-double. Davis chipped in 11 points to round out the double digit scorers. Wayne State found the target on 25 of 57 total shots from the field (43.9%), were 3 of 12 from three-point land (25.0%), and 13 of 17 at the free throw line (76.5%). They also had a slight rebounding edge at 33-30.
Michigan Tech will be back on the court Thursday when they battle Davenport in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The game was postponed for this Saturday and will be played Thursday starting at 2 p.m. on the campus of Lake Superior State. The Saturday January 27th game against rival Northern Michigan at home will be moved to Sunday January 28th in the SDC at 3 p.m.