The Wayne State men’s basketball lost their second straight GLIAC matchup at home on Jan. 12 against the Michigan Tech Huskies, 63-58, despite an explosive start.
An early run by the Warriors, led by juniors Chuck Key and Ronald Booth, allowed the Warriors to jump out to an early 19-8 lead in the first half. It looked like a game the Warriors would control from the start, but the Huskies stuck around by making six three-pointers in the first half.
“They just stuck to their game plan,” said WSU Head Coach David Greer. “Tech is the type of team that is really patient offensively, and eventually they’ll just wear you down. We got fatigued and started to make mental mistakes, and they got wide open threes.”
After the Huskies responded to the early Warriors run, they seemed to be in control for most of the game, in spite of being down two at the half, 32-30.
At the start of the half, it looked again as if the Warriors would try to make a push to pull away from the Huskies. Chuck Key scored six straight points – shifting a Warrior lead 36-30 and had a blocked shot in the first three minutes of the half. But, to Greer’s dismay, the Warriors stopped going to Key, and it allowed the Huskies to keep within striking distance of the Warriors.
“We started settling for jump shots, and shooting ill-advised three pointers. It just wasn’t very good offensive basketball,” Greer said. “And when we did get the ball to Key, we pretty much just stood around and watched and we became easy to guard.”
Outside of Ronald Booth (22 points) and Chuck Key (16 points, 11 rebounds), the rest of the Warriors struggled on offense.
The Huskies second-half charge was led by freshman point guard Tommy Lucca, who scored 17 points on the night, 12 in the second half.
“Number three [Lucca] controlled the game,” Coach Greer said. “Booth didn’t do a good job there. He made big time plays in the lane, and played like a point guard should play.”
The Warriors led 53-52 with 1:55 remaining after a Ronald Booth three, but the Huskies were able to answer with a lay up, and on the following possession, with a three-point play. With 45 seconds remaining, junior Marcus Moore hit two free throws to cut the Huskies lead to two, 55-57. Then, what seemed to be a recurring theme of the night, the Huskies responded. Tommy Lucca made a layup that extended the Huskies lead to four with 23 seconds to play, and solidified their victory.
Coach Greer said that his team’s performance was reminiscent to their previous loss at Findlay.
“The troubling sign is that we sort of played that way at Findlay, with no offensive flow and ill-advised shots,” Greer said. “You’re not going to beat good teams playing that kind of basketball.”
The Warriors (9-3, 6-2 in the GLIAC) return to action on Jan. 14 in another GLIAC matchup against Northern Michigan University at 3 p.m.