HOUGHTON, Mi. The Michigan Tech men's basketball team powered by the University of Wisconsin-Stout Saturday night for an 81-39 non-conference win at the SDC Gym. The Huskies opened the contest on a 10-0 scoring burst and never looked back on their way to the victory.
"Defensively, we did what we needed to do today to get the win," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "They have some solid perimeter shooters who can fire in three point baskets and I thought we did a good job defending the arc. I thought our guys gave great effort, not only in the way they defended, but also hustling on the floor to get loose balls. That was definitely a big key for us in the game.
"The next couple of days will be crucial for us for multiple reasons. Our players have to be successful with their exams and we'll work in practice time to get ready for Winona State. They played a fine basketball game and got us pretty good at their place last year. We have to come in and try to continue to get better and we'll see how things play out Wednesday night."
Michigan Tech (6-4) settled into a rhythm about 90 seconds into Saturday's game when sophomore Isaac Appleby made his way into the paint for the first bucket. Following a steal by sophomore Dawson Bilski, Appleby took advantage of another opportunity in the paint by cashing in a layup to extend the edge to 4-0. Bilski then fired in a triple at the 17:00 mark and then tacked on another trey to extend the gap to 10-0 with 16:43 remaining in the first half.
UW-Stout (4-5) charged back to within two points at 12-10 on the strength of a 10-2 scoring run of their own. Braden Walbeck capped the burst with a three-point basket as the clock ticked down to 13:08. The Huskies were able to regroup and bump the advantage out to double digits again at 23-12 with just under nine minutes to play until the intermission. Freshman Carter Johnston did the honors when he connected from three-point land for Tech.
The Huskies opened up a 31-16 lead with 3:33 to go in the half on a layup from Bilski. He then proceeded to cash in the next five points for Tech to make it 36-17 with just 44 seconds remaining in the first. Senior Bryan Heath closed the opening period with points in the paint, slicing his way to the hoop for a layup with just a few ticks left on the clock.
The Huskies continued to build on the lead as the second half progressed Saturday night. Sophomore Trent Bell got the first basket of the final period on a mid-range jumper and freshman Jake Witt delivered a dunk to make it 42-20 with just under 17 minutes to go. Tech collected 39 more points during the course of the final 17 minutes to secure the 81-39 win Saturday night in the SDC.
Bilski powered the Huskies' attack with a career high 25 points. Bilski fired in 9 of 12 shots from the field and was on target with 6 of 8 chances from behind the three-point arc. Bilski also contributed six rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Heath followed with 10 points while Johnston and freshman Owen White chipped in nine points apiece. Witt added six points and hauled down a season best 13 rebounds. Appleby closed the evening with a team high five assists. In total, 11 different players contributed points to the stat sheet in Saturday's win.
As a team, Tech found the bottom of the net on 29 of 54 shots from the floor (53.7%), were 13 of 23 from three-point range (56.5%), and 10 for 17 at the charity stripe (58.8%). The Huskies out-rebounded UW-Stout 46-30, had 18 total assists, and scored 22 points in the paint. The Huskies field goal percentage of 53.7% was a season high.
Kaden Koski guided the Blue Devils with eight points followed by Jon Ciriacks and Andrew Niebuhr with five points each. Koski and Garret Parks shared the team lead in rebounds with five apiece Saturday. The Blue Devils made good on 16 of 59 attempts from the field (27.1%), were limited to a 3 for 27 success rate from long distance (11.1%), and converted 4 of 9 chances at the charity stripe (44.4%).
The Huskies are back at home on Wednesday when they host Winona State in a non-conference game at the SDC Gym prior to the Holiday Break. The tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. eastern time.