Michigan Tech Game Notes (PDF)
Sunday 4 p.m. at Minnesota Duluth • Duluth, Minnesota
Michigan Tech (1-1) at Minnesota Duluth (1-0)
Radio: WKMJ Mix93 FM (Josh Ylitalo)
Audio Stream: Pasty.net
Live Video: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/umd/
Live Stats: http://www.michigantechhuskies.com/sports/mbkb/2018-19/schedule
OFF AND ROLLING
Michigan Tech split a pair of games last weekend in the GLIAC/GLVC Challenge at the Berry Events Center in Marquette to begin the 2018-19 journey. The Huskies fell to Lewis University 74-53 in the opener Saturday afternoon, but bounced back Sunday with a 75-67 victory over McKendree University in the first ever meeting between the two clubs. Against Lewis, the Huskies stayed on the heels of the Flyers until late in the first half when they pulled away and created some separation. Tech ended the first half strong against the Bearcats on Sunday and held a 36-31 lead at the break. Although the score remained close, Tech maintained the advantage for the entirety of the second half.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
One of the strengths of this year's team is post play, and that manifested itself in the opening weekend of the season. The ability to rebound the basketball proved to be key, especially in Sunday's win over McKendree. The Huskies out-rebounded the Bearcats 47-26 with 18 of those boards coming on the offensive end of the floor. Those numbers generated 10 second chance points for the Huskies while keeping the Bearcats scoreless in the second chance points statistical category. The Huskies are averaging 37.0 total rebounds per game while hauling down 12.5 boards per contest on the offensive end of the floor through two games.
WITT MAKES IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Freshman forward Jake Witt made his collegiate debut last weekend in the GLIAC/GLVC Challenge, hosted by Northern Michigan. Witt immediately made an impact, averaging 10 points and five rebounds in the two contests. Witt came off the bench and poured in 12 points while grabbing seven rebounds in Tech's 75-67 win over McKendree in Sunday's contest at the Berry Events Center. Witt tossed in eight points in Saturday's game against Lewis University. In his senior season at Ewen Trout Creek High School, Witt averaged 27 points and 18 rebounds per game on his way to a spot on the All-State First Team for the second year in a row.
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.
GLIAC STATISTICAL RANKINGS
Even though the season is only two games old, the Huskies are near the top off the GLIAC statistical rankings in a few different categories. Tech leads the GLIAC in offensive rebounds per game (12.5) and rebound margin per game (5.0). The Huskies have traditionally been a solid free throw shooting team and through two contests, Tech is second in the conference in free throw percentage at 77.8. The Huskies are also second in total rebounds per game (37.0) while ranking third in points allowed per game (70.5) and fourth in blocked shots per contest at 3.5.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Michigan Tech and Minnesota Duluth have had a storied history down through the years. Sunday's game will mark the 64th all-time meeting between the two clubs, with the Bulldogs holding a slight 33-30 edge in the series that began way back in 1948. Minnesota Duluth won last year's meeting 84-69 on November 22nd at the SDC Gym, but the Huskies have been victorious in three of the last five showdowns. The last time the game was in Duluth, the Huskies prevailed that day 68-65. The Huskies built a 10-point lead late in the second half, but had to hold off a rally by the Bulldogs who could have potentially tied the game on their final possession. Senior Bryan Heath had 13 points and six rebounds to help lead Tech to the victory. The Huskies most successful run against the Bulldogs was an 11 game winning streak from 1997 through 2004.
The Bulldogs are 1-1 through the first two regular season games this season, defeating the College of St. Scholastica 116-68 this past Saturday followed by a 64-52 setback at Northern Michigan on Tuesday night. Minnesota Duluth travels to Wisconsin-Superior Thursday night for a non-conference contest before hosting the Huskies on Sunday afternoon. Forward Brandon Myer has been the most consistent performer for the Bulldogs through the first two games of the year. Myer had 19 points in the season opener and tossed in 18 points against the Wildcats on Tuesday. Guard Logan Rohrscheib paced UMD in the season opener with a game high 22 points. The Huskies will have to keep an eye on Sean Burns as well this Sunday. Burns notched 15 points and nine rebounds in the opener and chipped in 10 points and six rebounds against the Wildcats Tuesday night. Minnesota Duluth was 12-18 overall a year ago and finished 12th in the Northern Sun Conference with a mark of 7-15.
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 make the trek over to Erie, PA for a Thanksgiving weekend tournament hosted by former GLIAC member Gannon University. Tech will take on Alderson Broaddus Friday night at 5:30 with the second opponent to be determined by Friday's results. The other team in the tournament is Fayetteville State University who plays Gannon in Friday's other matchup. The consolation contest on Saturday is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with the championship set for 7:30 p.m.