Bulldogs top Huskies in canine battle, 84-69

David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette Huskies guard Dawson Bilski drives around Bulldogs denfender Jake Wilson during a game Wednesday night at the SDC Wood Gym. The Huskies dropped the game to the Bulldogs, 84-69.

HOUGHTON — After dropping a pair of games on the road in the past week, the Michigan Tech men’s basketball coaching staff felt that Wednesday’s return to the Student Development Complex Wood Gym would be a welcome taste of home cooking.

It didn’t quite turn out that way as a hot-shooting Minnesota-Duluth team spoiled things with an 84-69 victory over the Huskies.

“I’ve been in this business a long time, and I’ve felt like this before,” a disappointed MTU coach Kevin Luke said afterward. “But when you prepare as hard as we did …. and not execute our game plan …. it’s very disturbing. I hope our guys take this to heart. It’s not like we didn’t know what Duluth was going to do.”

The Bulldogs shot the lights out, especially from long-range.

The invaders buried 9 of their first 12 three-point attempts and finished with 12 triples in all. Overall, they hit 55 percent from the field.

“You have to give them (Bulldogs) credit because they shot the basketball very well in our gym. They executed what they had to do, and they deserved to win the game tonight.”

UMD put five players into double figures, while MTU managed to had just two in double digits. Kyle Monroe netted a game-high 27 markers and Isaac Appleby put 11 more.

But the Huskies inability to score effectively from inside was a detriment.

“It was non-existent, we would not go to the rim,” Luke noted. “They (Bulldogs) had a big, strong kid and he gets credit for (MTU center) A.J. Grazulis not scoring well tonight. Not many teams can stop A.J. and they did the job.

“If you’re not making shots, you have to be able to go to the rim. We’re shying away from that for whatever reason and we’re going to work on that.”

Tech led a good portion of the first ten minutes, thanks to the outside work of Monroe, who had 18 points in the opening half.

MTU held a 14-7 lead early on before UMD bounced back strong. Sparked by some fine outside shooting from Jake Wilson, the Bulldogs went on a 16-0 run for a 23-14 lead. 

Wilson knocked down 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in the first half on the way to 16 points.

After falling back by a 32-21 margin late in the half, the Huskies received treys from Appleby and Monroe to make it 35-27.

UMD finished the half with a 40-32 lead, however.

UMD moved slowly away in the second half until Monroe and Bryan Heath canned three’s to make a 58-43 deficit into 58-49 with 7:08 remaining.

The winners closed the deal after that, canning key free throws.

One of the few bright Tech spots came late in the game when freshman Dawson Bilski hit the first three-pointer of his collegiate career. He had five points in the game.

“We’re hoping that will get him off the nervous stage,” Luke said. “We know what Dawson can do and once once he gets going, he’s going to be a heckuva player.”

Wilson led the 2-2 Bulldogs with 20 points and Brandon Meyer put in 15. Logan Rohrscheib added 13, while Trever Entwisle and Luke Harris had 12 points apiece.

Ryan Schuller added 9 points off the bench for 2-3 Tech, which played without starting guard Tommy Lucca for the fourth straight game.

MTU hosts Concordia-St. Paul at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Luke said his team will be ready.

“We’re going to get this fixed, beginning on Saturday,” he said.