Green Bay men take down Division II Michigan Tech
By Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – One week after just hanging on to beat St. Norbert, the Green Bay men’s basketball team got all it could handle against Michigan Tech.
The Phoenix built a double-digit lead, but poor free throw shooting late allowed the Huskies to get within four points. However, Green Bay closed out a 72-66 victory over Division II Michigan Tech in exhibition play at the Kress Events Center on Thursday night.
Green Bay was just 7-for-19 from the free-throw line in the second half, including a 2-for-8 in the final minute. The team finished 13-for-25 for the game.
The Phoenix also turned the ball over 18 times, resulting in 16 Michigan Tech points.
Green Bay coach Will Ryan saw some progress from his team from the first exhibition game against St. Norbert to this game nine days later.
“Offensively, we were a little crisper, for the most part, other than the turnovers and they can be correctable,” Ryan said. “I don’t know if our guys quite understand that yet, but some of them are just, OK, time and score, when to go, when to not, reading the defense, guys maybe trying to get a little overzealous and thread the needle and that’s why we work on all the passing and catching drills. We’ve definitely got to clean that up.”
Cade Meyer finished with a game-high 22 points for the Phoenix, hitting 8 of 13 shots from the field. The 6-foot-8 forward was a nightmare inside for the Michigan Tech defense.
Meyer came out aggressively to start the game.
“I felt solid,” Meyer said. “I knew I just had to come in and play hard. Michigan Tech is a great team, so I couldn’t just lay off because they’re a D-II, so I felt like I had to come in and play hard and do what I could do to help the team.”
Meyer felt like his team had more energy going into this game.
“St. Norbert, we definitely didn’t play as well as we could have and how we can play, so I feel like we always kind of had that energy coming into this game,” Meyer said. “We feel like it’s time to start stepping it up, and we’ve all been talking about that as a team, so I feel like we were just really excited to play this game and we’re excited to continue to play more.”
Michigan Tech got 21 points from guard Marcus Tomashek. The 2022 Ashwaubenon graduate was playing in his first collegiate game as a true freshman.
“It was a good exhibition game playing against an athletic team,” Tomashek said. “It’s going to set us up
well for our league. For my first college game, it got the jitters out a little bit, so it feels good.”
After starting out 1-for-6 from the field in the opening half, Tomashek was 7-for-9 in the final 20 minutes to keep his team within striking distance.
Tomashek hit a shot with 20.2 seconds remaining to make it 70-66. Green Bay missed its third and fourth free throws in a row, and the Huskies came back down as Pete Calcaterra missed a 3-pointer with 4 seconds remaining. Green Bay’s Clarence Cummings III hit a pair of free throws with 1.3 seconds left to ice the victory.
Green Bay played well in the first 20 minutes and led by 14 with 1:20 remaining before halftime.
Up 33-22 at the break, Michigan Tech got within seven a number of times in the second half. However, Green Bay always had a response.
The Phoenix shot 56.5% from the field (26-for-46), while the Huskies hit 42.6% (26-for-61).
Cummings III had 13 points and Brock Heffner 11 for Green Bay.
Ryan liked the inside-outside balance from his team.
“I told the guys, we shot 26 3s, 27 3s last game and that’s probably a little too many, but we were 7-for-12 (tonight),” Ryan said. “I thought we took, for the most part, the right ones. Inside out or off of penetrate and kick, and as they play together more, they’re going to find guys better in their sweet spots and where they are on the court. Brock’s a good 3-point shooter. So if he can give us that, some inside out, and if teams double him, double Cade — because I think he’s going to see a lot of that — I think if we’re knocking down 3s and we’re taking the right ones, we I think we can hurt some teams.”
Green Bay will open the regular season on Monday when it travels to Indiana State for a 6 p.m. tip.
Meyer said the Phoenix’s two exhibition games prepared the team well for the regular season.
“With only having four returners from last year, I feel like it’s a great way for us to play with each other and kind of feel each other out and see how people like getting the ball and how they play off different actions,” Meyer said. “I feel like these past two games have been great for us figuring out stuff like that, just kind of gelling more as a team.”