Tech men seek redemption against Wayne State

David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette Michigan Tech's Tommy Lucca brings the ball up Thursday against Northern Michigan at the Wood Gym.

With the Wayne State Warriors visiting the Wood Gym for tonight’s GLIAC Quarterfinal at 7:30 p.m., the Michigan Tech Huskies (15-13) hope it goes better than the last time Wayne State (16-9) came to town. 

In what was Tech’s most disappointing performance at home, a 68-47 loss to Wayne State on Feb. 9, the Huskies will look to redeem themselves with a better showing tonight — and they must if they want to advance to the semifinals.

“After watching the film, we did quite a few things wrong, especially early,” Luke said of the earlier loss. “We’ll get those corrected. We have to come in and match their intensity and play smart.”

Wayne State jumped out to a 10-0 run to start the game and Tech was never able to battle back. 

Despite how bad things went for Tech in the second meeting between the two schools, Tech matched Wayne State’s physicality and toughness in the Huskies’ 63-58 win in Detroit on Jan. 12. 

But Wayne State’s top-ranked defense in the league delivered a knockout to Tech in the rematch, holding the Huskies to 16 of 51 shooting (31 percent) and 4 of 21 from 3 (19 percent). The Warriors allow the least-amount of points per game in the GLIAC (66.6).

“Wayne State is a tough team because they make you do things right. There is not much room for error because of that,” Luke said. “Are they going to give us better shots? Probably not, but we have to create those situations.

“I like playing against them because they’re good coaches and good kids and they play hard. But with that being said, we have to be much better than we were the last time.”

Junior Chuck Key is a versatile inside scorer who leads the Warriors at 14.8 points per game; he scored 18 in Wayne State’s victory over Tech. Junior guard Ronald Booth is not far behind at 14.3 points per game, and he also found success against Tech, finishing with 18 points.

Besides senior Jordan Chartier, for the rest of Tech’s starting lineup — sophomores Kyle Monroe and Bryan Heath, junior A.J. Grazulis and freshman Tommy Lucca — it will be their first collegiate postseason contest. 

“It’s a new world. It’s another chance and another level,” Luke said “It’s a new season and everybody is 0-0.”

ALL-GLIAC AWARDS

The men’s GLIAC postseason awards were announced Monday by the league office. Lucca, Chartier and Monroe each earned postseason honors for Tech. 

Lucca was named the GLIAC Freshman of the Year and was selected to the All-GLIAC Second Team after scoring 16.3 points per game (sixth in the GLIAC), averaging 4.4 assists (fourth in the GLIAC) and 3.9 rebounds. It’s the second consecutive year a Huskie has won the Freshman of the Year award after Monroe received the honor last season. 

After averaging 19.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, Monroe was named to the All-GLIAC First Team. He needs 22 points to hit the 1,000-point milestone.

Chartier was selected to the All-GLIAC Second Team and was also chosen as a member of the GLIAC All-Defensive team. Chartier is averaging 13.3 points per game and shooting 44 percent from 3 (10th best in the GLIAC).

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