BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team suffered a 79-53 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference loss at Ferris State Saturday afternoon. The Huskies battled back from an early double digit deficit to draw to within three points with just under 14 minutes to go in the second half, but the Bulldogs countered with a 10-0 scoring run to regain the momentum and pull away.
"I'm proud of our guys for battling back to make it a one possession game in the second half," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "We made a couple of mistakes right after that, Ferris State took advantage, and the game changed quickly from there. I'm proud that we fought back and once again our players never gave up. When we are able to do the little things well and pay a little bit more attention to detail we'll be able to prevail in this kind of game. They had us down and out and our players didn't quit.
"It's a tough stretch of games for us on the road, but it's the GLIAC and we'll work hard this week to get ready for Davenport and Grand Valley State. I continue to look at the bigger picture and when we all get on the same page and fine tune our execution of the Michigan Tech systems we can be a great club."
Michigan Tech (11-13, 6-11 GLIAC) struck first when freshman Owen White attacked the basket for a layup in the opening minute of the contest. Ferris State (19-9, 11-6 GLIAC) knotted the score at 2-2 courtesy of a D'Angelo Hughes layup on the ensuing possession and from there the teams traded points over the next four minutes. Sophomore Dawson Bilski momentarily put Tech back on top 6-4 with a layup at the 14:59 mark.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs would reel off 13 consecutive points to establish a 17-6 advantage. Markese Mayfield fired in the first basket to tie the score and then a Hughes triple with 10:40 to play in the first half capped the burst. Ferris State would eventually go up by as many as 18 points at 36-18 with just over two minutes to go until the break.
However, the Huskies began to climb back in it during the closing stretch of the first frame. Sophomore Dawson Bilski sliced to the basket for a layup followed by a bank shot by junior Ryan Schuller after Bilski hauled down a defensive rebound off a Ferris State missed three-pointer. Bilski then filled up a triple with 31 seconds left on the first half clock to cut the gap to 36-25 just before the intermission.
A strong start to the second half enabled the Huskies to make an even greater dent into Ferris State's lead. With 17:06 to play in the game, sophomore Trent Bell dropped in a layup to kick start an 8-0 Huskies scoring run. Bilski cashed in two free throws and sophomore Isaac Appleby drained a triple to bring Tech to within five points at 39-34 with 15:44 remaining in the contest.
White then cut it to three points for the first time at 40-37 on a layup at the 13:53 mark and then the two sides exchanged hoops to keep the three-point gap intact. Bilski notched a mid-range jumper for the Huskies with 13:15 to go, leaving the score at 42-39. However, Ferris State seized control once again with a 10-0 run over the next four minutes.
Michael Peterson's jumper with 9:17 to play made it a 52-39 score and from there the Bulldogs continued to build on their lead. Ferris State's advantage maxed out at 79-51 with 1:40 showing on the clock following a layup by Dylan Dankenbring. Freshman TeeAaron Powell closed out the scoring for the Huskies right as time expired, resulting in the 79-53 final score.
Bilski powered the Huskies offense with 14 points followed by eight points from sophomore Trent Bell and senior KC Borseth. For Borseth, it was a career high in points which was produced on a 3 of 6 shooting effort from the field. White wrapped up the day with seven points and shared the team lead in rebounds with Appleby at six. Freshman Carter Johnston distributed four assists and did a solid job breaking the Ferris State press throughout the afternoon.
As a team, the Huskies were 22 of 60 from the field (36.7%), fired in 5 of 26 attempts from three-point range (19.2%), and were 4 for 6 at the free throw line (66.7%). Tech recorded 30 points in the paint and hauled down 36 rebounds.
Hughes paced the Bulldogs with 14 points, Thrower produced 12 points, and Mayfield along with Armani Tinsley each chipped in 10 points Saturday afternoon. Mayfield grabbed a team high seven rebounds and had a pair of steals. The Bulldogs were 29 of 62 from the floor (46.8%), made 10 of 24 chances from long distance (41.7%), and converted 11 of 15 looks at the free throw line (73.3%).
The Huskies will be back in action for two GLIAC games next week starting Thursday night at Davenport followed by a contest at Grand Valley State Saturday. Thursday's tip-off against the Panthers is slated for 7:30 p.m. eastern time.