MARQUETTE, Mich. – Gaining just enough separation in the final five minutes of the game, Michigan Tech men’s basketball defeated Northern Michigan 61-52 Tuesday night and extended its streak to five road wins in a row. Four players reached double-figures, including Owen White, who again led the squad with 18 points. Dawson Bilski became the 30th player in Husky history to notch 1,000 points. The senior guard finished with 13 points on the night with four rebounds. Trent Bell also had a strong outing with 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and a block. MTU further expanded stranglehold of the GLIAC North Division and moved to 6-1 overall. Northern Michigan dropped to 3-4.
The Huskies struggled to make baskets in the first 20 minutes and trailed 29-26 at halftime. Conversely, the Wildcats were energized initially and snatched a 12-4 advantage through the opening five minutes. Noah Parcher capitalized on a late shooting foul and his subsequent free throws kept NMU ahead at the break.
The teams traded blows in the opening minutes of the second half and after the score was tied 51-51, the Huskies pulled in front for the last time. Owen White and Trent Bell made jump shots on back-to-back possessions and Carter Johnston helped out with a critical block on the defensive end. Leading 59-52 with under a minute to play, the Wildcats failed to muster a comeback with missed shots and Bilski and White made free throws to close it out.
“It was a tough outing tonight,” Head coach Kevin Luke reflected on the Huskies slow start. “We did not play with much rhythm on offense. The ball stuck the entire first half. In the second half we were much improved on both ends of the floor. Then the last five minutes we played exceptionally well.”
The Huskies shot 41.8-percent overall compared to 38.5-percent for Northern Michigan. Owen White made 3 of 5 attempts from the 3-point arc and MTU shot 38.9-percent from long range. Michigan Tech also won the boards battle 31-27 and scored 30 points in the paint compared to 20 for NMU. Both teams took care of the basketball with MTU narrowly ahead in turnovers 7-5. A close contest throughout, the lead changed hands 18 times.
White played 37 minutes and went 6-for-12 from the field (3-for-5 from 3-point range). Johnston collected 10 points and contributed in multiple ways with six boards, one assist, one steal, and one block. Adam Hobson marked 17 minutes, five points, and three rebounds off the bench.
Dolapo Olayinka led the Wildcats’ offense with 20 points (9 of 18) and nine rebounds. NMU executed poorly from 3-point range with just four makes on 18 tries (22-percent).
COACH LUKE ON BILSKI REACHING 1000: “Dawson has been an outstanding performer for us his whole career. He is a great team player and is very deserving of this milestone. I’m very proud of him.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The Huskies finished their five-game road swing with five victories. They will return to SDC Gymnasium on Friday to begin a two-game set against Ferris State. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.
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