Disappointing defeat for Tech men

BIG RAPIDS – The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team has succeeded this season by maintaining a balanced, efficient offense centered around Ali Haidar.

According to head coach Kevin Luke, the Huskies lost 74-66 at Ferris State because that balance was nowhere to be seen.

Shooting over 50 percent for the season entering Thursday, Tech connected on 43 percent of their shots, while the Bulldogs bested their season average with a 48 percent success rate. Although Ali Haidar and Austin Armga each put up 18 points, zero points from the bench and combined 5-for-15 shooting from starters Phil Romback and Alex Culy hurt the Huskies.

“I don’t know if this is a harsh word right now, but I felt like we were selfish offensively,” Luke said in a phone interview Thursday. “(Ali) Haidar was doubled and he wouldn’t pass it out or he was open and we wouldn’t give it to him.

“They weren’t really stopping Haidar but we didn’t really go to him as much as he should.

“We needed to be better. Our shot selection was not real good for a lot of the time.”

On the flip side, Ferris succeeded by consistently penetrating into the lane and then reaching the foul line once it got there.

The Bulldogs opened the game with a 13-2 run and, despite several mini-runs from Tech, were able to preserve their lead by hitting 20-of-26 free throws.

Top scorer Kenny Brown led the way, putting in 18 and connecting on all eight of his free-throw attempts.

“We did not handle their penetration well. That was clearly a problem,” Luke said.

Tech was able to cut the lead as close as seven with 3:33 remaining but the Bulldogs sank nine straight free throws to close out the win. The Huskies dropped to 10-3 overall and 7-2 in GLIAC play, and Ferris State improved to 7-6, 6-3 GLIAC.

“Give them credit they played well,” Luke said. “I don’t think we were our best, but I have to give them credit. They made shots when they had to make shots and they made all of their free throws.”