Tech men defeat rival Wildcats

Courtesy of MTU Athletics

Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team used 14-0 run in the second half to take command against Northern Michigan, defeating the Wildcats 69-58 on Monday (Feb. 3) at the SDC Gym. The Huskies improve to 14-5 overall and 10-5 in the GLIAC.

After leading 41-37 with 14:13 remaining, Tech scored 14 straight points to quickly balloon the four-point lead to 18. Jason Hawke kick started the run with a 3-pointer and scored seven points in the stretch.

Ethan Blackwell and Justin Newell each hit buckets for NMU, but Austin Armga made two free throws and the Huskies hit 3-pointers on four straight possessions to take their largest lead of the game (69-43) with 5:40 to go. Phil Romback buried two of the 3-pointers in the stretch for his first points of the season.

“It feels good to win tonight,” Tech coach Kevin Luke said. “You have to take care of business on your home court. We were a little sluggish in the first half but bounced back with a much better second half.”

Tech had a balanced scoring attack with Ben Stelzer leading the way with a game-high 19 points. He also added six assists and four rebounds. Armga finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Hawke tallied nine and Kyle Stankowski had eight. Alex Culy, Romback and Jordan Chartier each scored a half a dozen.

“It was good to get a lot of guys in the game to spread out the minutes,” added Luke. “The schedule has been tough and we have two more games this week.”

NMU (4-15, 3-12 GLIAC) showed a lot of energy early, taking a 4-0 lead. A Stelzer three and back-to-back buckets by Stankowski got the Huskies on track. There were four ties and 11 lead changes in the opening half with neither team leading by more than four. Tech held a 32-29 lead at the break.

Tech finished the game shooting 46.7 percent (21-for-45) from the floor and 11-for-20 (55 percent) from three, including 7-for-10 in the second half. The Huskies held a 33-31 rebounding advantage and had 13 assists on 21 made field goals.

Northern shot 42.1 percent from the floor but was only 3-for-17 from three. Ethan Blackwell, Terry Nash and Chavis Mattison all had 13 points to lead the Wildcats.

The two teams combined for only 14 turnovers.

The Huskies continue play this week on Thursday (Feb. 6) at Ferris State. The weekend wraps up on Saturday (Feb. 8) at Grand Valley State.

“The quick turnaround is going to be tough,” Luke said. “The leaders will have to step up and get the guys ready. Everyone has this stretch so we have to mentally prepare ourselves and be ready to go.”