Michigan Tech men split against Purdue Northwest
HOUGHTON — Before Saturday, it had been more than 300 days since the Michigan Tech men’s basketball team had stepped on a court for an official game.
Tech stepped onto the floor Saturday and shot the lights out. It looked like the team’s last game was just a few days prior.
The Huskies opened GLIAC play with a 68-59 win over the Purdue Northwest Pride on Saturday.
Saturday was a different story, as sloppy and inconsistent play contributed to the team’s 76-52 loss Sunday.
Huskies senior Dawson Bilski picked up on Saturday where he left off in March. The 6-foot-3 guard poured in the the first 12 points of the game for MTU all from behind the 3-point line. Fellow senior Trent Bell kept the momentum going as he poured in three triples in the opening minutes of the contest.
“It feels so great to be back in here,” said MTU head coach Kevin Luke. “Just to be here and to see the new guys and their reactions was awesome. Finally, we know where we are at because we played against somebody else.”
The Huskies jumped out to a 9-2 lead only to have the Pride take a 13-12 lead at the 14:10 mark. The two teams would tie at 15 before the Huskies slowly pulled away with 17 unanswered points.
A number of those points came from freshmen Adam Hobson and Logan Geissler. Hobson, made his first mark as a Husky with a three pointer at the 14:34 mark and Geissler followed suit with a layup several minutes later.
“Honestly, I thought they did a nice job,” Luke said. “They were composed. They made some good baskets and made some good rebounds and mostly they did what they were supposed to do.”
The Huskies went to their locker room with a 40-29 halftime lead.
The second half opened up sloppily on both sides with neither team generating much offense. With less than five minutes to go in the game the Pride began to chip away at the Huskies 10-point lead. Back-to-back three-pointers by Purdue Northwest’s Mikell Cooper put the Pride at 55-57 at the 3:20 mark. That was as close as they would get as Bilski and Eric Carl would both sink shots to push the Huskies to a safe lead and the win.
After the game, Bilski said the strangeness of playing in the SDC with no fans in the stands.
“It was a different atmosphere,” he said. “Both Trent and I had a hot start and when we hit those threes and it was weird not to have a gym full of excited fans and to just hear from our own bench. But I thought we did a great job of getting us hyped us today.”
The Huskies shot 40.4 percent from the field. They were 11-22 or 50 percent from three-point range. Bilski led the charge with 24 points. Trent bell followed with 14, and Eric Carl poured in 11.
The Pride shot 39.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point territory. Cooper led the team with 15 points and was followed by Vince Miszkiewicz who had 13.
Sunday’s matinee looked like Saturday’s strong start as MTU’s Eric Carl kicked off the the game with back-to-back 3s in the opening minutes.
It was downhill from there as Tech couldn’t find their rhythm and Purdue Northwest found theirs, thwarting Tech with a 76-52 triumph.
“We were ready to play, but we just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be,” Luke said. “This will be the struggle of this season as we play two games in row this season.”
Throughout the first 10 minutes, the Huskies trailed by less than six points. While they were able to get the ball inside, Tech could not find the net in the first half. The Pride were able to score eight second-chance points as opposed to just five for Tech. That helped them take a 26-15 lead with just under seven minutes to go. However the Huskies were find some rhythm before the end of the half and go up 30-29 by half time.
“I told the guys at half time that we are really good when we execute our systems and give ourselves the opportunity to swing the basketball side to side, and I was banking on that happening in the second half but it just didn’t happen,” Luke said.
The Huskies had 14 turnovers while the Pride had 11. Tech was out rebounded 44-32.
“We have to rebound better and control the ball better,” Luke said. “You have to give credit to Purdue as they stuck to their game plan. While we were shooting poorly, our defensive could not stop them.
The Huskies shot just 33% from the field. They were 25% from 3-point range. Carl led the scoring with 14 points. Trent Bell followed with 11.
The Pride shoe 43% from the field and 36.8 percent from three-point range. Anthony Barnard led with 23 points and Vincent Miszkiewicz followed with 15.
“We are just into the second game and we are still working on our chemistry,” said Luke. “It is a process and we hope to be more consistent and fluid as we go on.”
The Huskies visit Northwood University for games on Jan. 15-16.
Michigan Tech 40 28 — 68
Purdue Northwest 29 30 — 59
MICHIGAN TECH (68) Bell 14, Appleby 5, Bilski 24, Johnston 2, Carl 11, Hobson 5, Geissler 2 Robarge 5. 3-point FG: 11 (Bell 2, Appleby 1, Bilski 4 Carl 3, Hobson 1) F: 20. FT: 15-27.
PURDUE NORTHWEST (59) Barnard 6, Freels 5, Miszkiewicz 13, Boyle 9, Allison 5, Cooper 15, Phillips 1, Irvin 5. 3-point FG: 7 (Cooper 3, Irvin 1, Boyle 2, Allison 1) F: 22. FT: 10-17.
Michigan Tech 30 22 — 52
Purdue Northwest 29 47 — 76
MICHIGAN TECH (52): Bell 11, Appleby 4, Bilski 8, Johnston 3, Carl 14 Hobson 4, Clow 4, Powell 2, Ojala 2. 3-point FG 6 (Carl 4, Appleby 1, Johnston 1) F: 19. FT: 8-11.
PURDUE NORTHWEST (76): Barnard 23, Freels 7 Miszkiewicz 15, Cooper 9, Boyle 8, Allison 5 Zurilene 2, Phillips 4, Irvin 3. 3-point FG: 7 (Barnard 2, Freels 1, Miszkiewicz 1, Cooper 1 , Allison 1, Irvin 1) F: 12. FT: 17-20.