HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team is getting set for the start of the 2019-20 season with practices underway in anticipation of the opening tip-off. Tech finished the 2018-19 season with an overall record of 11-16 and 6-14 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Senior forward Kyle Monroe and junior guard Dawson Bilski were selected to the GLIAC Preseason All-Conference Team.
Michigan Tech is picked to finish third in the GLIAC North Division for the third consecutive year, pulling in 45 points and one first place vote in the Preseason Coaches' Poll announced Wednesday by the conference office. Ferris State once again sits atop the North Division with 55 points and six first place votes. Parkside checks in just behind the Bulldogs with 51 points and five first place nods. Lake Superior State is slated to finish fourth with 33 points, Purdue Northwest fifth with 17 points, and Northern Michigan sixth with 15 points.
Over in the South Division, defending GLIAC Champion Davenport University is penciled in to the No. 1 spot with 61 points and 11 of the 12 first place votes. Ashland University is second with 50 points and one first place vote while Grand Valley State holds down the No. 3 position with 39 points. Northwood is fourth with 26 points, Saginaw Valley State is fifth with 24 points, and Wayne State is sixth with 16 points to round out the bottom three teams in the poll.
The Huskies were a young team last year and the valuable in game experience the returning players received should pay major dividends in 2019-20. Tech had a number of players log significant minutes, and in addition, the Huskies have Tommy Lucca and Kyle Monroe back after both players were sidelined with injuries last year.
In 2017-18, senior forward Kyle Monroe led the Huskies and the GLIAC in scoring at 27.7 points per game, which was also second best in all of NCAA Division II. Monroe tied or broke three Tech records in 2017-18, including the most points scored in a single season. Monroe eclipsed the single season scoring record with 45 points on February 28th, 2018 at Wayne State in the GLIAC quarterfinals and added 15 in the tournament semifinals on March 3rd, 2018 versus Lake Superior State.
Monroe wrapped up the year with 803 points, establishing that total as the new single season school record. He also broke the mark for most consecutive free throw makes (40) and tied the school record for most points in a single game (50) at Saginaw Valley State on February 8th, 2018. Monroe averaged 7.7 rebounds per game while dishing out 2.6 assists each time he took the floor. Monroe has scored 1,830 career points through the first three seasons of his collegiate career.
Postseason awards that year included, DIICCA 2nd Team All-American, All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference First Team, the GLIAC All-Tournament Team, and NABC All-District First Team honors.
In 2018-19, Dawson Bilski helped power the Huskies and earned Second Team All-GLIAC accolades for his efforts on the court. Bilski, a junior guard from Powers, Michigan, led the Huskies in scoring with a 12.8 points per game average during the 2018-19 campaign. Bilski found the target on 46.2 percent of his shots from the field and dialed in 40.9 percent of his attempts from three-point range. Bilski poured in a career high 25 points against the University of Wisconsin-Stout and connected on six triples during the course of two games that season.
Bilski ranked 20th in the GLIAC in points per game and was eighth in the league statistically in three-point shooting percentage. In addition to his numbers on offense, Bilski was third on the team in rebounds with 4.6 each time he touched the floor. He also distributed 1.4 assists and had 1.0 steals per game in 27 games played. Each one of Bilski's appearances were starts.
Junior forward Trent Bell led the Huskies in rebounding in 2018-19, hauling down 6.3 boards per game in 27 starts. Bell, a native of Negaunee, Michigan, also fired in 7.7 points per game for the Huskies last year. Sophomore guard Owen White was the second leading scorer for Tech a year ago thanks to a 9.4 points per game average. White, who hails from Rhinelander, Wisconsin, also contributed 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Junior guard Isaac Appleby returns as well after posting 7.1 points per game in 27 contests. Appleby is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and dished out a team best 3.5 assists per night in 2018-19.
In addition, returning to the court this year for Tech are Elisha Coleman, Tommy Lucca, Jalen Carter, Kyle Clow, Carter Johnston, Devin Schmitz, Eric Carl, Ryan Schuller, and TeeAaron Powell. Newcomers to this year's club are Matt Ojala (Calumet, Mich.), Isaiah Bridges (Midland, Mich.), and Tyler Robarge (Chippewa Falls, Wis.).
Tech opens the year Saturday November 9th and Sunday November 10th at McKendree for the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge. The Huskies play McKendree in game one at 8:30 p.m. eastern time before battling Lewis University at 2 p.m. eastern time Sunday. This year's slate of games will include 13 regular season home dates, with the home opener scheduled for Saturday November 23rd against Minnesota Duluth at 2 p.m. eastern time.