Huskies to face Bulldogs this weekend in canine battle

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Tech Huskies head to Duluth, Minnesota, tomorrow after coming off an opening weekend where they split games. They lost to Lewis University 74-53 last Saturday in a game during which they only shot 30 percent. However, they came back to win the next day against McKendree University, 75-67.

Huskies coach Kevin Luke noted that his young squad has a lot of work to do.

“It is going to take us a while to get to where we need to be on the court,” he said. “I was disappointed with the execution of our game against Lewis on both the offensive and defensive side of the game.

“A lot of this has to do with experience. I look up and there are three freshman and a sophomore on the floor.”

On the bright side, Luke was pleased with his squad’s rebound game and their interior passing.

In Sunday’s win over McKendree, the Huskies outrebounded the Bearcats, 47-26, with 18 of those boards coming on the offensive end of the floor.

“It just shows that our guys come out and they want to play hard and be the first ones out there,” Luke said.

He added that he was happy to see a lot of interior passing in both games last weekend.

“All good teams over time have been good at interior passing,” said Luke, “and I am pleased at where we are on that.”

In the win against McKendree, Luke was quite pleased with the play of freshman Jake Witt and senior Bryan Heath.

“Bryan stepped up on Sunday and played like he is capable of playing,” Luke said. “He is an athletic kid who did a nice job of blending his three-point shooting with his ability to take the ball to the basket.”

Heath led the Huskies with 23 points on seven successful field goal attempts and was 7-for-8 from the free throw line.

Luke likes what he sees from Witt, a Ewen-Trout Creek product.

“Jake is a fine basketball player,” he said. “He is very athletic and it makes up for what he lacks in game experience. He will be an important factor for us this season.”

Michigan Tech and Minnesota-Duluth have had a storied history down through the years. Sunday’s game will mark the 64th all-time meeting between the two clubs, with the Bulldogs holding a slight 33-30 edge in the series that began back in 1948.

“This is a great one that happened every year,” said Luke. “While it is a non-conference game, Duluth plays like a lot of the ways teams look in our league. They play disciplined and they play hard.

“Every game will be a test for us. Hopefully we can get through these games and then Game 15 to 25 will come easier.”

Tip off is set for 4 p.m. Sunday.