HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team fell to Saginaw Valley State in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest 75-54 Saturday afternoon at the SDC Gym. The Huskies attempted to battle back after falling behind early on, but the Cardinals were able to knock down some key shots and come up with stops to prevent a Tech rally.
"Saginaw Valley State played well today and our players are a little worn down and we've hit a bit of a wall," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "Our players are giving everything that they have and we can bounce back, but we need to realize that we can. Our effort was good again today and I liked a lot of the things we did on offense in terms of getting the ball inside. Unfortunately, we weren't able to convert consistently in the paint and were struggling to connect on shots from the perimeter as well. We have a tough stretch of four games coming up on the road against some very good clubs, but that's the GLIAC and we have to get ready and go play."
Michigan Tech (10-12, 5-10 GLIAC) grabbed an initial lead in Saturday's game when junior Ryan Schuller drew contact underneath the rim to earn a trip to the free throw line. Schuller sighted in both chances to give the Huskies a 2-0 edge one minute into the first half. Saginaw Valley State (8-15, 4-11 GLIAC) countered with a trio of three-point shots to go up 9-2 with 17:41 on the first half clock. Darnell Hoskins Jr. tossed in two while Myles Belyeu dialed in the other on his way 30 points Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Isaac Appleby answered for the Huskies on a mid-range jumper to chop the deficit down to five points at 9-4. Tech remained within single digits of Saginaw Valley State until the 13:13 mark of the first half when James Toohey found the range from behind the arc to make it 19-9. Belyeu added two more points following a stop by the Cardinals' defense, increasing the gap to 21-9 with 12:41 left until intermission.
A few minutes later, the Huskies put together a quick 5-0 scoring burst to close to within seven points again at 23-16. Freshman Owen White banked in a layup for two of his team high 14 points followed by a steal from sophomore Dawson Bilski which setup a triple courtesy of senior Bryan Heath. Heath's trey went through the basket with 9:10 to go until the break.
Unfortunately, the Tech run ended there when the Sebastiano Lamonato converted on a conventional three-point play to make it a 26-16 score with 8:39 on the clock. Just over a minute later, Bilski filled up a triple to slice the gap back down to eight points at 28-20, but once again the Cardinals would answer with some quick points of their own. Belyeu struck for seven consecutive Saginaw Valley State points and increased the lead back out to double digits at 35-20 with just over three minutes to play in the first frame.
The Cardinals carried a 43-29 advantage into the locker room at halftime and never looked back from there. The Huskies drew to within 13 points on two separate occasions in the opening moments of the second period courtesy of a free throw by White and a three-point bucket via sophomore Trent Bell. However, that's as close as Tech would get the rest of the way. The Cardinals continued to quietly add to their lead throughout the second half before the final horn sounded, resulting in the 75-54 final score.
White paced the Huskies with 14 points followed by Bell with 11 points and a team high six rebounds Saturday afternoon. Bilski just missed double digits with eight points while distributing a team high three assists. Senior KC Borseth ended the game with six points and posted two rebounds of his own.
In terms of team stats, the Huskies were successful on 20 of 55 shots from the field (36.4%), were 9 for 25 from three-point range (36.0%), and 5 for 11 at the free throw line (45.5%). The Huskies limited their turnovers to seven while forcing 11 Saginaw Valley State miscues which led to 15 points on the offensive end of the floor. Tech also had seven offensive rebounds and 10 second chance points.
Belyeu poured in a game high 30 points followed by Hoskins Jr. with 21 points to guide the Saginaw Valley State offensive attack on Saturday. Avery Lewis dropped in nine points and secured a team high seven rebounds off the bench. The Cardinals made good on 25 of 50 shots from the field (50.0%), were 10 for 23 from long distance (43.5%), and 15 of 17 at the charity stripe (88.2%).
The Huskies will try and regroup on Thursday when they open a four game GLIAC road trip at Lake Superior State. The tip-off is slated or 7:30 p.m. eastern time.