CANTON, Ohio - It turns out, the Michigan Tech men's basketball team doesn't need Ali Haidar to be superhuman to win. Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year-worthy is good enough.
The Huskies improved to 3-1 on the year and notched their first GLIAC win of the season with a 71-58 triumph at Malone Thursday night.
"Anytime you can come on the road and get a win it is an awesome situation," Tech head coach Kevin Luke said in a phone interview with the Mining Gazette Thursday night.
Haidar threw in 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting - tied for his lowest output of the season - but it was the play of sophomore forward Phil Romback and junior guard Austin Armga that secured the win.
Romback turned in what may have been his finest all-around game as a Husky, notching 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, 11 rebounds and four assists with no turnovers. The forward took advantage of the extra attention Haidar saw with a variety of scores, both from the perimeter and inside.
"He is skilled enough to take a load off of Haidar," Luke said . "He just has to keep coming.
"The best part for me was the 11 rebounds. He got some rebounds out of his area."
Armga chipped in with 15 points - his best total of the season - as he attacked Malone's man-to-man defense with his go-to eight-foot pull-up.
"He was in a better rhythm," Luke said. "He felt more comfortable tonight. He has just done a really good job being patient and letting the game come to him."
Tech held Malone to 33 percent shooting and a lowly 0.89 points per possession.
For the Pioneers, Isiah Elliott poured in 24 points, but the rest of the team shot just 29 percent for the game.
"I'll tell you what, that Elliot is a really good player," Luke said. "But nobody else did that well for them."
The Huskies (3-1, 1-0 GLIAC) are at Walsh Saturday.