×

Huskies men look to continue success on the road

David Archambeau/For the Gazette Michigan Tech guard Dan Gherezgher drives around a Northern Michigan defender during a game Saturday at the SDC Gym in Houghton.

DETROIT — Riding a three-game winning streak, the Michigan Tech Huskies have played their way back into the mix for the GLIAC Tournament. However, at 9-14 overall and 6-8 in conference play, they are aware their job is not finished yet.

This weekend, the Huskies are facing Wayne State and Saginaw Valley State on the road. Coach Josh Buettner has one simple goal right now.

“We’re treating it like tournament time right now,” he said. “That’s what it needs to be. You look at those standings and a home playoff game is still within our reach, as is missing the tournament. You just can’t risk anything with the league right now, because there are no givens.

“You can play well and lose any of these four, and we can play well and win all these four. We just need to treat each game, and each possession, like it matters, like it’s a tournament.”

Prior to the recent home stretch that saw the Huskies beat Purdue Northwest, Wisconsin-Parkside and then-No. 24 Northern Michigan, they were mired in a tough, five-game road trip that saw them go 1-4 and fall to ninth in the GLIAC standings. The main reason for the turnaround, in Buettner’s estimation, has been the Huskies’ attention to detail on defense, something that had been missing in stretches earlier this season.

“The thing we’ve really been looking at is, defensively, how much better we’ve played,” he said. “There’s different metrics to measure defense, but in terms of just straight points given up, we’re pretty much in last until these last five games. (Now,) we’re one of the best defenses in the league. We’re competing at a higher level on that side of the ball, especially the last three games.”

Buettner said that the stronger defensive play has been a goal throughout the season.

“That’s something we’ve been trying to find all year,” he said. “If we can sustain that the next couple of weeks, we might be able to do some damage.”

Of course, having some veteran leadership step in and help out has been a key for the Huskies as well. Junior guards Adam Hobson and Pete Calcaterra have both found their games coming off the bench, and are giving the Huskies consistent effort at both ends of the floor, which has helped improve overall team performance.

“I mean, I have kind of gotten after some of the upperclassmen a little bit this year,” Buettner said. “I know, especially Hobson and Calcaterra, these last two games, have really stepped up big. That’s what they’re supposed to do. You start getting some better play out of your upperclassmen, and things look better, and that’s awesome.”

Another reason for the recent Huskies’ turnaround has been the improvement in the overall health of the team. The Huskies lost sophomore guard Dan Gherezgher for six games early in the season, and struggled to make up for the loss of their starting point guard. Then, upon his return, the team had to adjust to having him in the lineup. Just as they were finally figuring that out, they hit the five-game road trip, where multiple members of the team suffered illness and sophomore guard Josh Terrian ended up missing a game due to his condition at the time.

Now, the Huskies are more healthy, Gherezgher is playing more consistently, and that has given the Huskies a deeper roster to work with.

“Just the continuity of it is the huge thing,” Buettner said. “It’s tough when a guy like Dan’s out. We look a lot differently, not just because he’s a good player, but just how we play. Some things around there have been good. I think we got some of the illness stuff through us a little bit.

“Just being able to put together a couple weeks of real practice, to go with some success in the game, has been huge.”

SCOUTING THE WARRIORS

The Wayne State Warriors come into this weekend 10-14 on the season and 4-11 in GLIAC play after a tough weekend that saw them lose in double overtime to Lake Superior State and then in regulation to Ferris State.

They are led offensively by sophomore guard Carmelo Harris, who is averaging 13.3 points per game. Senior forward Ray Williams Jr. is almost in double figures at 9.9 points per game. Junior forward Colin Golson Jr. has also been good, averaging 9.0 points per game.

SCOUTING THE CARDINALS

The Saginaw Valley State Cardinals come into this weekend 13-11 overall and 6-9 in GLIAC play. They are coming off a sweep at the hands of Ferris State and Lake Superior State, but both games were on the road, where the Cardinals have struggled. At home, the Cardinals are 10-3.

Junior guard Toodles Seal drives their offense, averaging 18.3 points per game. Senior guard Tre Garrett has also been strong at 17.3 points per game. Junior guard Freddie McIntosh is the third piece of their three-headed attack, as he averages 16.3 points per game.

GAME TIMES

The Huskies and Warriors will do battle at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit. Saturday, the Huskies and Cardinals are set to start at 3 p.m. at the James O’Neill Arena in University Center.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
   

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today