Men’s Basketball: Huskies outshoot Ashland, 76-63

Michigan Tech guard Carter Johnston (15) puts up a shot against Ashland University on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Houghton, Mich. (David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Tech Huskies men’s basketball team extended their winning streak to three games after defeating Ashland University 76-63 on Saturday.

The game capped off a seven-game homestand in which the Huskies (10-3, 4-1 GLIAC) went 6-1. Tech’s only loss during this home stretch, which began in the first week of December, was a 64-61 loss to Northern Michigan University on Dec. 15 at the buzzer.

The conference win against Ashland (7-6, 0-5 GLIAC) was a team effort by MTU. Four Huskies scored in double figures, including Kyle Monroe’s 24 points and Tommy Lucca’s 15. Owen White had 14 points and Isaac Appleby scored 12.

“I like the way we spread the wealth today with our passing and looking to get plays inside and out,” Michigan Tech head coach Kevin Luke said. “We have to continue to stay true to the game plan and stay true to us.”

Monroe opened the game with a 3-pointer and the Huskies were off and running. The game was tied at eight at the 15:46 mark and at 12 at 12:41. Tech then hit a cold spell for several minutes as they could not find the hoop. Luckily, however, the Eagles did not fare too well on their own during the spurt.

Monroe broke a 21-21 tie with another three-point shot with 4:25 left to go in the first. It sparked an offensive run that push them up with a 12-point 40-28 point-lead at the half.

Coach Luke said Saturday’s game was one of the best defensive efforts his team has put up so far this season. For instance, Ashland turned the ball over 21 times and the Huskies converted that to 30 points.

“No matter what the score is if you defend, you are always going to give yourself a chance to win,” he said.

The Huskies were able to limit Ashland’s big 6-foot-8 center Drew Noble to just 14 points and five rebounds.

“We defended him well by doubling up on him,” Luke said. “When you are worried about being doubled up on, it throws your game off. Credit goes to our guys for doing that tonight.”

Coming out of the locker room the Huskies maintained their strong play and quickly moved the lead to 19 points within the first six minutes of the second half. At that point, the game was out of reach for Ashland, and Tech cruised to victory.

For the Eagles, Aaron Thomas led the scoring with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Rodrick Caldwell followed with 15. Ashland shot 42.9 percent from the field while MTU shot 45.5. The Eagles were 50 percent from past the three-point arc. The Huskies were 37.9 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

The Huskies visit Parkside University on Thursday and then Purdue Northwest on Saturday.

“It will be a test for us,” Luke said. “Both of these teams are good and they play hard. Anytime you go on the road you don’t know what to expect.”

Ashland 28 35 — 63

Michigan Tech 40 36 — 76

ASHLAND (63): Noble 14, Haraway 3, Thompson 20, Caldwell 15, Beaugard 3, Conley 8. 3-point FG: 8 (Thompson 3, Caldwell 2, Beaugard 1, Conley 2). F:15. Rebounds 34. FT- 19-24.

MICHIGAN TECH (76): Monroe 24, Lucca 15, Bilski 8, White 14, Appleby 12, Carl 3. 3-point FG: 11(Monroe 4, Lucca 3, White 2, Appleby 1, Carl 1). F: 18. Rebounds 31. FT 5-7.