HOUGHTON, Mich. â?? Michigan Tech men's basketball Coach Kevin Luke pulled out his seldom-used zone defense on Saturday (Jan. 18) and held Grand Valley State to 32.7 percent shooting, en route to a 69-54 win at the SDC Gym. The Huskies are now tied with the Lakers for second place in the GLIAC standings at 7-3 and both teams hold an 11-3 overall record.
Austin Armga and Ben Stelzer each scored 15 points to lead a balanced offensive Huskies' attack. Jason Hawke was also in double figures with 10 while Alex Culy added three 3-pointers and Troy Hecht and Kyle Stankowski combined for 15 points.
On Tech's first possession of the second half, Hecht made it a 10-point lead after an old-fashioned three-point play. The Lakers then scored five straight to cut the margin to 37-32.
The home team went on a 14-3 run over the next five minutes to balloon the lead to 16 (51-35) with 11:05 remaining. Armga scored six points in the run.
GV again scored five straight to cut the game back to 11 with 6:51 left, but Stankwoski stopped the bleeding for the Huskies while Ben Stelzer buried a 3-pointer and Hecht added a bucket for an 18-point lead (60-42) with 5:36 on the clock.
The Huskies would lead by as many as 21 down the stretch as all 14 players that suited up checked into the game.
"We're excited about a tough GLIAC win against one of the best clubs in the league," Luke said. "Give our defense a little bit of credit. They didn't shoot as well as well as they normally would.
"We stuck with the zone after starting with it. We intended on changing it up throughout the game but it was working. It's something that maybe we can pull out if our man defense isn't effective."
There were four ties and four lead changes in the first half before Tech took control after a Culy 3-pointer and Stankowski bucket and free throw with 5:58 left. Hecht added a three for a six-point lead and the Huskies led 34-27 at the break.
"We're trying to bring Kyle back slowly," added Luke. "He's getting there and it was good for him to get some minutes today to boost his confidence. It was important for him to get some big rebounds and big buckets because he's going to be important for us as the season goes along."
As a team, the Huskies shot 47.2 percent (25-for-53) from the field and 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from three. Tech also made all 10 free throws and held a 40-30 advantage on the boards.
Grand Valley was 17-for-53 from the field and 8-for-30 (26.7 percent) from deep. Ricardo Carbajal was the only Laker in double figures with 11. Ryan Sabin added eight points and six rebounds.
The Huskies are back on the road next weekend at Wayne State (Jan. 23) and Saginaw Valley State (Jan. 25).