Huskies men’s basketball still looking for complete game as they start GLIAC play
HOUGHTON — While the Michigan Tech Huskies men’s basketball team is just 1-5 on the season through its first six games, they have only lost by more than six points twice, and those two games were against nationally ranked opponents, the No. 16 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and the No. 9 Minnesota State-Moorhead Dragons.
Despite not having the record they were hoping for coming out of the first six games of the season, Huskies coach Josh Buettner feels good about where his team is at.
“I mean, obviously our record is not where we want it to be,” he said. “Losing can, I think, make us, as a coaching staff, question some things, and (the) players question some things. But, at the same time, I think our locker room is still in a good place.
“I think we know we have a really good team, a team capable of beating anybody on our schedule. But, we also know that if we don’t come to play, and we don’t do things the way we need to do them, that we can lose to anybody on our schedule.”
The Huskies have had a tough schedule to contend with, which is difficult for a young team, however that has been compounded by the fact that injuries have limited them to just one game with their full lineup.
“We’ve played really good teams,” he said. “I mean, we’ve talked about that. We have a top five strength of schedule in the country right now, and we’ve only had our full squad for one game.
“Everybody goes through all those things. We’re not about making excuses.”
With so many close games early in the season, Buettner is happy to see real progress from last season to this season.
“(We) went through some of that early last year,” he said. “This year, you can pick those possessions or two, and the 1-5 can be 4-2, 5-1, pretty easily with just a few minor tweaks, and that can drive you crazy. But, at the same time, that’s also reason for hope and promise.”
A reason for lots of positivity is the offense being created by sophomore guard Marcus Tomashek. Tomashek is averaging 24.5 points per game, including going 34.0% from beyond the arc. He had a career-high 33 already against Missouri-St. Louis in the Huskies’ lone win, and he continues to do something special nearly every time he has the ball.
Of course, as his coach, Buettner would love to see some continued development in his defensive game.
“I think he still knows there’s room to grow on the other side of the basketball,” Buettner said. “Hopefully, as we get more balanced offensively, we can stop leaning on him quite as much, and get his usage rate down a little bit. But, there’s still two sides of the ball, and he needs to improve on the other side. He knows that.”
While Tomashek is leading the offense, junior forward Pete Calcaterra is just beginning to heat up. After scoring just 20 points in his first three games, and then missing the fourth game, a loss to St. Cloud State, he has been outstanding, scoring 15 against the Bulldogs and then a season-high 20 against the Dragons.
Buettner is working with him on improving his consistency.
“Pete’s an explosive player, and the thing we’ve been talking about with Pete is just being consistent in practice, in games, not having the mindset to be aggressive and smart all the time, and be locked in,” said Buettner. “When he does that, he’s got the potential, and the ability, to be as good a player as there is in the league. It just comes down to that. Growth in terms of consistency is the word we’re using with him a ton.”
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
The Saginaw Valley State Cardinals come to Houghton Thursday with a 4-2 record on the year. After losing their first two games of the season, they have won four in a row, including a 70-67 win over then-No. 5 Indianapolis.
They have five players averaging double figures in scoring.
Junior guard Toodles Seal leads the way at 18.8 points per game. Senior guard Tre Garrett is scoring 15.2 points per game. Junior guard Freddie McIntosh, who is hitting 41.0 from beyond the arc, is averaging 13.5 points per game.
Senior forward Maurice Barnett has also been scoring well to start the season. He is averaging 12.5 points per game. Sophomore forward Keyonne Taylor rounds out the top scorers, as he averages 10.7 points per game.
SCOUTING THE WARRIORS
The Wayne State Warriors enter this weekend 4-2 overall, thanks to the current streak they are on, having won all four matches since then have played since starting 0-2.
Sophomore guard Carmelo Harris leads the Warriors in scoring. He is averaging 15.3 points per game.
Four more players have scored in double figures, starting with senior guard Ray Williams, who has 11.7 points per game, and is shooting 31.6% from beyond the arc. Junior forward Golin Golson, Jr., is third on the team at 11.5 points per game.
Sophomore guard Tamario Adley and sophomore center Matt Coffey are averaging 11.0 and 10.6 points per game.
The Huskies will be facing the Cardinals Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the SDC Gym. On Saturday, the Huskies and Warriors are set to start at 3 p.m.