PREVIEW: Huskies Visit McKendree and Lewis to Open 2019-20 Season

PREVIEW: Huskies Visit McKendree and Lewis to Open 2019-20 Season

Michigan Tech Game Notes (PDF)
Sat. Nov. 9 • 8:30 PM at McKendree • Sunday Nov. 10 vs Lewis 2 PM • McKendree, Ill.
Michigan Tech (0-0) at McKendree (0-0) and Lewis (0-0)
Radio: WKMJ Mix 93 FM / WMPL 920 AM
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The 2019-20 preseason is coming to a close as the Huskies get set to officially tip-off the year on Saturday at McKendree. Tech finished the 2018-19 season with an overall record of 11-16 and 6-14 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Huskies were a young team last year and the valuable in game experience the returning players received should pay major dividends in 2019-20. Tech had a number of players log significant minutes, and in addition, the Huskies have Tommy Lucca and Kyle Monroe back after both players were sidelined with injuries last year.

In 2017-18, senior forward Kyle Monroe led the Huskies and the GLIAC in scoring at 27.7 points per game, which was also second best in all of NCAA Division II. Monroe tied or broke three Tech records in 2017-18, including the most points scored in a single season. Monroe eclipsed the single season scoring record with 45 points on February 28th, 2018 at Wayne State in the GLIAC quarterfinals and added 15 in the tournament semifinals on March 3rd, 2018 versus Lake Superior State.

Monroe wrapped up the year with 803 points, establishing that total as the new single season school record. He also broke the mark for most consecutive free throw makes (40) and tied the school record for most points in a single game (50) at Saginaw Valley State on February 8th, 2018. Monroe averaged 7.7 rebounds per game while dishing out 2.6 assists each time he took the floor. Monroe has scored 1,830 career points through the first three seasons of his collegiate career. Postseason awards that year included, DIICCA 2nd Team All-American, All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference First Team, the GLIAC All-Tournament Team, and NABC All-District First Team honors.

In 2018-19, Dawson Bilski helped power the Huskies and earned Second Team All-GLIAC accolades for his efforts on the court. Bilski, a junior guard from Powers, Michigan, led the Huskies in scoring with a 12.8 points per game average during the 2018-19 campaign. Bilski found the target on 46.2 percent of his shots from the field and dialed in 40.9 percent of his attempts from three-point range. Bilski poured in a career high 25 points against the University of Wisconsin-Stout and connected on six triples during the course of two games that season.

Bilski ranked 20th in the GLIAC in points per game and was eighth in the league statistically in three-point shooting percentage. In addition to his numbers on offense, Bilski was third on the team in rebounds with 4.6 each time he touched the floor. He also distributed 1.4 assists and had 1.0 steals per game in 27 games played. Each one of Bilski's appearances were starts.

Junior forward Trent Bell led the Huskies in rebounding in 2018-19, hauling down 6.3 boards per game in 27 starts. Bell, a native of Negaunee, Michigan, also fired in 7.7 points per game for the Huskies last year. Sophomore guard Owen White was the second leading scorer for Tech a year ago thanks to a 9.4 points per game average. White, who hails from Rhinelander, Wisconsin, also contributed 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Junior guard Isaac Appleby returns as well after posting 7.1 points per game in 27 contests. Appleby is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and dished out a team best 3.5 assists per night in 2018-19.

In addition, returning to the court this year for Tech are Elisha Coleman, Tommy Lucca, Jalen Carter, Kyle Clow, Carter Johnston, Devin Schmitz, Eric Carl, Ryan Schuller, and TeeAaron Powell. Newcomers to this year's club are Matt Ojala (Calumet, Mich.), and Tyler Robarge (Chippewa Falls, Wis.).

Michigan Tech is picked to finish third in the GLIAC North Division for the third consecutive year, pulling in 45 points and one first place vote in the Preseason Coaches' Poll announced Wednesday by the conference office. Ferris State once again sits atop the North Division with 55 points and six first place votes. Parkside checks in just behind the Bulldogs with 51 points and five first place nods. Lake Superior State is slated to finish fourth with 33 points, Purdue Northwest fifth with 17 points, and Northern Michigan sixth with 15 points.

Over in the South Division, defending GLIAC Champion Davenport University is penciled in to the No. 1 spot with 61 points and 11 of the 12 first place votes. Ashland University is second with 50 points and one first place vote while Grand Valley State holds down the No. 3 position with 39 points. Northwood is fourth with 26 points, Saginaw Valley State is fifth with 24 points, and Wayne State is sixth with 16 points to round out the bottom three teams in the poll.

McKendree University battled NCAA Division I Creighton University last Friday night in an exhibition game on the road falling 95-63. The Huskies and the Wildcats met for the first time in program history last season in Marquette. Tech prevailed that day 75-67 in the GLIAC/GLVC Challenge hosted by Northern Michigan University. McKendree went on to finish 9-18 overall and 5-13 in the GLVC in 2018-19, failing to make the postseason tournament. Logan Kohrmann and Alijah Thomas are the top two returners for the Wildcats this season. Kohrmann was second on the team in scoring last year at 12.6 points per game. He also reeled in 4.7 rebounds per game. Thomas chipped in 9.8 points per game and 3.3 rebounds. He tied for the team lead in assists with 81.

Lewis also has an exhibition game in against NCAA Division I Illinois, falling 83-50 on November 1st. The Flyers were 25-6 overall and 15-3 in the GLVC a year ago, which was good for the regular season conference title. The Flyers had their season come to a close in the NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinals with a 62-61 loss to Southern Indiana. Adam Pischke is the club's top returner after averaging 11.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in 2018-19. As a team, the Flyers outscored their opponents 75.8 points to 67.7 points per game last season.

Kevin Luke, the winningest coach in Michigan Tech basketball history is in his 26th season leading the Huskies in 2019-20. 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 433-286 overall record, including a 289-196 mark in conference play. His winning percentage of .602 ranks as the best in Husky hoop annals.

The Huskies go back on the road next Sunday November 17th at Winona State University before opening the home schedule on November 23rd in the SDC Gym against Minnesota Duluth. The Warriors play Missouri Southern State and Washburn University in the Central Region Challenge to begin the 2019-20 campaign this weekend.