Armga leads Tech men past T’Wolves

Courtesy of MTU Athletics

Michigan TechHOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team snapped Northwood’s five-game winning streak with a 78-52 victory over the Timberwolves on Thursday (Jan. 30). The Huskies had three players in double figures and outscored Northwood by 18 in the second half to improve to 13-4 overall and 9-4 in the GLIAC.

Northwood (13-8, 9-4 GLIAC) came into the game in a tie for the top of North Division and left in a tie with Tech for second place behind Lake Superior State. The Huskies held the Timberwolves to almost 20 points below their season average and only 5-for-23 (21.7 percent) from three.

“It’s nice to be home where our guys feel comfortable,” Tech coach Kevin Luke said. “We beat a very good club tonight. We played excellent defense and our second half offense was much better than the first.”

Austin Armga scored a game-high 26 points on 7-for-13 shooting and 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Ben Stelzer added 20 points making five threes and five free throws. Troy Hecht was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field—with four of them from 3-point territory—and 2-for-2 from the free throw line with a career-high 16 points.

“Troy gives us everything he has every night,” Luke added. “Tonight he shot in rhythm and it was nice to see. It’s great for use because his shooting spreads the floor even further.”

Stelzer hit two threes early in the second half as Tech’s halftime lead quickly built to 11 4:12 in. With Tech leading by 13 and 12:15 on the clock, Northwood was assessed three technical fouls in 40-second span. Armga made all six free throws and the lead ballooned to 17 with 10:35 remaining.

The Huskies led by as many as 28 with 3:43 remaining after five straight points by Hecht. Reserves Quintan Harris and Jeff Gregory both made late buckets and Tech won by 25.

The first half had four ties and eight lead changes before the Huskies took control. Down by one (21-20) with 3:39 left on the first-half clock, Tech scored eight straight points. There were three free throws in the run, including two by Stelzer after a technical foul on the Northwood bench. Arma had a layup and Stelzer capped off the run with a 3-pointer in the final minute and Tech led 29-22 at the break.

Armga scored 11 points in the first half and Stelzer added 10 as Tech shot only 31 percent from the floor and 4-for-17 from three.

Tech finished 43.4 percent (23-for-53) from the floor after shooting 58.3 percent from the floor in the second half. The Huskies also put on a 3-point clinic in the second 20 minutes of play, burying 8-of-13 from deep. The home team made 12 more free throws than its opponent and only had six turnovers.

Phil Romback made his season debut for the Huskies, playing 10 minutes. Jason Hawke and Alex Culy combined for 10 points. Hawke also had a career-high five assists, while Culy added three assists and a team-high six rebounds.

Northwood shot 20-for-52 (38.5 percent) from the floor. Khalid King and Wes Wilcox each scored 13 to lead the T-Wolves. Dylan Langkabel (11) and Darvin Ham (10) were also in double figures. The visitors held a 35-28 rebounding advantage but committed 15 turnovers that led to 22 Tech points.

The three-game home stand continues on Saturday (Feb. 1) against Lake Superior State. Tipoff against the Lakers is set for 3 p.m. Tech hosts Northern Michigan on Monday (Feb. 3) to wrap up the stretch. The Lakers defeated NMU 77-58 on Thursday.

“They have a great club coming in Saturday,” Luke said. “We have to continue to focus on defense and getting everyone involved in the offense.”