Huskies Square Off with Rival Northern Michigan

Sports

 Feb 26, 2020

2019-20 WEEK 15 IN REVIEW
Michigan Tech secured two key Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference wins in the final two regular season home games this past week. The Huskies defeated Davenport 73-63 on Thursday night to begin the week and then held off Grand Valley State 78-70 on Saturday to go to 19-8 overall and 13-6 in the GLIAC.

In the Davenport win, senior Kyle Monroe powered the Huskies with a game high 29 points and 10 rebounds followed by junior Isaac Appleby with 16 points, five rebounds, a team high three assists, and two blocked shots. Sophomore Owen White tossed in seven points followed by junior Dawson Bilski and freshman Eric Carl with six points each. The Huskies ended the night making 24 of 59 shots from the field (40.7%), were 9 for 29 from three-point range (31.0%), and 16 of 18 at the charity stripe (88.9%). Tech combined for 11 assists, had 20 points in the paint, and generated 10 points off 12 Davenport turnovers.

On Saturday against the No. 21 Lakers, Monroe guide the Huskies again with a game high 41 points and 11 rebounds for the double-double. He connected on 12 of 21 shots from the field, including 5 of 8 from three-point range. Monroe also made good on 12 of 15 chances at the charity stripe. Combined with his 53 points against the Lakers in the first meeting of the season, Monroe has 94 points against Grand Valley State this year. Bilski followed with 18 points and six rebounds while junior Trent Bell dished out a team high five assists. As a team, the Huskies found success on 26 of 54 shots from the field (48.1%), were 10 for 20 from three-point range (50.0%), and 16 of 22 at the free throw line (72.7%).

MONROE EARNS 7TH GLIAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD
Michigan Tech senior forward Kyle Monroe was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division Player of the Week for the seventh time this season and the second consecutive week, announced by the conference office Monday. Monroe, who hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin, had a great week again for the Huskies in the two wins. He averaged 35.0 points per game, including a high of 41 points in a 78-70 win over No. 21 Grand Valley State. Monroe has now combined for 94 points against the Lakers after pouring in 53 points at Grand Valley State earlier this season. In addition to scoring, Monroe logged two double-doubles on the strength of 10 and 11 rebounds respectively. His shooting percentage stands at 55.0% for the week and at the free throw line he cashed in 20 of 25 attempts combined in the two games (80.0%). On the season, Monroe is averaging 22.8 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per contest. He is also closing in on 2,500 career points with 2,446 heading into this week’s game at Northern Michigan. His scoring average leads Tech and the GLIAC.

PLAYOFF PICTURE
Michigan Tech has already clinched a spot in the GLIAC Tournament which starts on Tuesday March 3. The Huskies are currently third in the conference standings and could rise to as high as second with a win Thursday at Northern Michigan and a loss by Grand Valley State in their game against Davenport. Ferris State claimed the regular season title with a conference mark of 15-4 and will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament no matter what happens Thursday. Tech’s home GLIAC Quarterfinal game is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the SDC Gym and the opponent will be determined following Thursday night’s games.

GLIAC PRESEASON POLL
Michigan Tech was 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.

GLIAC STATISTICAL RANKINGS
Through 27 games of the season, the Huskies are at or near the top of the GLIAC statistical rankings in a number of categories. Tech is third in the conference in free throw shooting percentage (74.6%) and first in the GLIAC in three-point baskets made per game at 10.4. The Huskies are also first in the GLIAC in overall field goal percentage (48.8%) and first in three-point shooting percentage (42.3%). Tech checks in second in assists per game (17.4) and second in fewest turnovers per game (9.9). The defense is fifth in fewest points allowed per game at 69.1 and are fourth in blocks at 3.8 each time the team takes the floor. The Huskies are second in the GLIAC in scoring at 79.4 points per game. Monroe leads the GLIAC in scoring at 22.8 points per game, is eighth in rebounding at 6.9 boards per contest, and ninth in free throw shooting percentage (77.8%). Junior Tommy Lucca is second in the conference in assists per game (6.6) and first in assist to turnover ratio (3.8). Four Tech players are ranked in the top seven in three-point shooting percentage with junior Dawson Bilski (47.8%, 1st), freshman Eric Carl (47.5%, 2nd), sophomore Owen White (45.2%, 5th), and junior Trent Bell (42.1%, 7th) landing in that group of players.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Northern Michigan is 12-15 overall and 9-10 in the GLIAC going into Thursday’s game with the Huskies in Marquette. The Wildcats are battling for a spot in the GLIAC Tournament and are in a must win situation to have a chance to get in. Northern Michigan is in a three-way tie with Ashland and Lake Superior State for seventh place in the overall standings. Only one game separates those three teams from fifth place with multiple tiebreaker scenarios in play. The Wildcats are coming off an 80-74 win at home against Davenport this past Saturday, which snapped a four-game losing skid. Northern Michigan boasts the top defense in the conference in terms of points allowed per game at 66.3. They also lead the league in fewest turnovers per game (9.0) and check in at No. 3 in three-point field goals made per contest (9.0). The Wildcats are posting 66.4 points per game, which ranks 11th in the GLIAC statistical categories. Sam Taylor leads the attack for Northern Michigan at 12.6 points per game followed by three other players at or around nine points per night. Myles Howard is the clubs leading rebounder at 8.3 boards per game while adding 7.3 points per contest to the stat sheet. Northern Michigan leads the all-time series with Tech 126-79. The Huskies suffered a tough 64-61 loss to the Wildcats in the first meeting of the season on December 15 in the SDC Gym. Bilski paced the Huskies with a season high 22 points and four rebounds followed by White with 13 points in that first game.

COACH LUKE
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.

UP NEXT
The Huskies open the postseason by hosting a GLIAC Quarterfinal contest on Tuesday March 3 in the SDC Gym at 6 p.m. eastern time. The opponent will be determined following Thursday night’s regular season finale at Northern Michigan.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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