MTU Men's Basketball fades late at UWGB

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GREEN BAY, Wi. The Michigan Tech men's basketball team traveled to NCAA Division I UW-Green Bay Thursday night and gave the Phoenix all they could handle in a 94-74 exhibition loss. The Huskies led 40-35 at the break and went up by as many as 14 points in the second half before Green Bay put together a late charge to pull out the win.

"I'm proud of our players and the effort they gave tonight on the road against a solid NCAA Division I program in UW-Green Bay," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "We executed our systems really well throughout the night and had solid contributions from a number of players. However, in the end their athleticism took over and created problems for us in the last few minutes of the game. Overall, it was a good effort by our club and we'll focus on getting better this week as we get set to begin the regular season next weekend against Lewis and McKendree."

After both teams traded a couple of baskets at the outset, the Huskies grabbed their first lead of the night on a triple by senior Bryan Heath to make it a 5-4 score two minutes into the action. Sophomore Dawson Bilski added two more points to Michigan Tech's advantage on a layup when junior Ryan Schuller found him cutting to the basket with 17:33 showing on the first half clock.

Sandy Cohen III briefly tied the game for UW-Green Bay on the ensuing possession, but the Huskies took off from there on a 13-2 scoring run. Heath connected on a triple from downtown followed by a jumper from freshman Jake Witt, two three-pointers by sophomore Isaac Appleby, and a jumper in the paint by Heath to cap the scoring run with 12:40 on the clock.

The Huskies established a 20-8 advantage at that juncture before the Phoenix clawed back to within one at 26-25 on a conventional three-point play by Manny Patterson with just over seven minutes to play until the break. Tech's lead fluctuated back up to seven points at 39-32 with 1:31 left in the first on a free throw from junior Tommy Lucca before the Huskies settled in with a 40-35 edge at the intermission.

The Huskies blasted out of the gate to start the second half and opened up a double digit lead again at 50-40 on a trey from Bilski with 16:56 to go. It quickly grew to 14 points at 54-40 on a Witt midrange jumper just a few seconds later. Cohen III slowed the Huskies down by answering with a three-pointer of his own as UW-Green Bay began to chip away at the gap over the next few minutes.

The Phoenix eventually slipped back in front 61-59 on a layup by Trevian Bell with just over 11 minutes to play, but a free throw courtesy of redshirt freshman Kyle Clow and another three-point basket by Bilski pushed the Huskies back to a 63-61 lead at the 10:20 mark. The two sides then exchanged buckets for three minutes until the Phoenix were able to turn the tide of the contest.

With the score tied 67-67 and 7:20 showing on the clock, Cohen III found the mark again from long range to send Green Bay into the lead. That sparked a 12-0 run that culminated on a pair of free throws by Patterson to make it a 79-67 score with 5:18 remaining in the second half. Unfortunately, the Huskies were unable to bounce back from the scoring burst by Green Bay as the Phoenix eventually pulled away for the 94-74 exhibition win.

Four Tech players had 10 or more points Thursday night, led by Bilski with 20 on an 8 of 12 shooting night from the field. He was 4 for 7 from three-point range, grabbed three rebounds, and dished out three assists. Heath along with Witt followed with 12 points apiece while Appleby rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points. Witt was Tech's leading rebounder thanks to eight boards in 22 minutes of work on the floor.

As a team, the Huskies connected on 25 of 60 shots from the field (41.7%), were 8 of 22 from behind the three-point arc (36.4%), and 16 of 24 at the free throw line (66.7%). Tech had a solid 42-33 advantage in rebounding, recorded 12 second chance points, and had 24 points in the paint. The reserves posted 36 of Tech's 74 points in Thursday night's showdown with the Phoenix.

Green Bay's Cohen III led all scorers with a game high 28 points followed by JayQuan McCloud with 12 points. ShanQuan Hemphill and Patterson tacked on 10 points apiece with Hemphill pulling down a team high eight rebounds. The Phoenix knocked down 32 of 61 shots from the field (52.5%), were 13 of 25 from long distance (52.0%), and 17 of 28 at the free throw line (60.7%).

The Huskies will tip-off the regular season over in Marquette at the GLIAC/GLVC Challenge against Lewis University next Saturday November 10th at 1 p.m. Tech will then wrap up the weekend on Sunday afternoon against McKendree University at 1 p.m.