Huskies men’s basketball heads out to holiday tournament

HOUGHTON — For Michigan Tech Huskies men’s basketball coach Kevin Luke, this year’s success might not be measured in how many wins and losses his young team tallies but rather where they end up from midway through the season to its end.

The reason for that measurement is a simple one: there is a lot of youth on the court and thus a lot of basketball to learn.

“I am definitely not having to coach effort,” said coach. “We certainly have a bunch of guys who want to play well and get better, and that will come with time.

Some of the Huskies inexperience came to the forefront last weekend as the Huskies fell to Minnesota-Duluth on the road, 61-56. Their starting lineup consisted of three sophomores: Isaac Appleby, Dawson Bilski and Trent Bell as well as two upperclassman, junior Ryan Schuller and senior Bryan Heath. Freshmen Kyle Clow, Owen White and Jake Witt came of the bench and tallied 68 minutes combined.

Part of the reason Luke has to rely on so many underclassmen is that senior Kyle Monroe and junior Tommy Lucca were both out for the season before it even began.

“Overall, I think we looked good as an MTU team facing a very good Duluth team,” said Luke. “A little more smarts in a couple of situations in the game and it would made a difference.”

With youth and inexperience come mistakes, on the offensive end of the floor.

“We need to execute better offensively as we had a lot of breakdowns,” said Luke. “We need to correct those errors, and we will see significant progress. I was pleased with how our younger players attacked defensively.”

Heath led the offense for the Huskies with 19 points while Appleby followed with 10.

Luke noted that offensive errors will be addressed in practice this week.

“We are asking the players to do a lot right now, and we all have to be patient in the process as this team continues to grow,” he said. “We have some very capable young players on the floor.

“For us to go on the road and play Duluth this tough, means there is something good there. We’ll get back to practice this week and focus on doing the little things well that can put us over the hump in these types of close games.”

The Huskies (1-2) will be on the road this weekend in Erie, Pennsylvania, for the Gannon University Holiday Classic tournament. On Friday, they will play Alderson Broaddus from Philippi, West Virginia.

The Battlers feature five players averaging 10.3 or points including senior guard Mike Davis, who is putting up an average of 17.3 points in 29 minutes of play. Senior forward Brandon Simmons is also off to a quick start, averaging 13.7 points and 31.7 minutes per contest.

“It is a team we’ve never played before,” said Luke. “They’re very athletic and have five guys in double figures. It will once again be a test for us and our systems, and that is how this year is going to be for us.”


Tip-off time between the Huskies and Battlers is 5:30 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s contest will depend on how Friday’s contests go.