Defense leads MTU men past T’Wolves

Courtesy of MTU Athletics

MIDLAND, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team used suffocating defense to win its sixth straight game on Thursday (Feb. 20). The Huskies defeated Northwood 73-44 at the Bennett Center to improve to 19-5 overall and 15-5 in the GLIAC.

Leading by 24 at halftime, the Huskies scored the first 11 points of the second half to extend the lead. Austin Armga scored six of the points while Alex Culy buried a 3-pointer and Ben Stelzer made a layup in the run.

The lead got up to 36 after a 3-pointer by Jeff Gregory with 11:54 remaining.

Northwood (16-12, 12-8 GLIAC) went on a 10-2 run late to cut the lead under 30, but the Huskies scored the final five points for their largest win of the season.

“I was happy for the guys,” Tech coach Kevin Luke said. “It was a great team effort. We moved the basketball and defended early. There’s not a lot to say. We came out and played hard and executed.”

Up by six (21-15) with 7:34 to go in the first half, the Huskies offense exploded to end the first half on a 21-3 run that included the final 14 points.

Tech shot 58.1 percent in the first half and held the Timberwolves to only 23.3 percent. Armga had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists in the opening 20 minutes of play.

The Huskies finished the game shooting 50.8 percent (32-for-63) from the field and 40.9 percent (9-for-22) from 3-point territory. Tech dominated rebounding 44-35 and committed only seven turnovers.

Armga finished with a game-high 27 points on 13-for-20 shooting. He also pulled down eight rebounds. Jason Hawke was the other Husky in double figures with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting and added seven rebounds.

“Our leadership tonight was awesome,” added Luke. “Alex and Austin did another great job with senior leadership. Ben wasn’t feeling well tonight but he gave us some minutes out there and then got some rest in the second half.”

All 13 players that travelled played with 11 entering the scoring column. Stelzer finished with eight points, while Culy tallied seven points and dished out five assists. Kyle Stankowski had a career-high eight rebounds and added a bucket.

Northwood shot 24.6 percent from the floor and made only 3-of-23 attempts from behind the 3-point arc. Dylan Langkabel (12) and Darvin Ham (10) led the T-Wolves in scoring.

Tech plays its final two games of the regular season in the Upper Peninsula, beginning on Saturday (Feb. 22) at No. 18 Lake Superior State. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. at the Bud Cooper Gym. The final game is at Northern Michigan on Feb. 27.