CANTON, Ohio — No. 20-ranked Michigan Tech overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to take three separate one-point leads in the final eight minutes, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Malone in a 65-59 final at Osborne Hall. The hosts hit 60 percent of their shots in the first half, then made the key baskets in the final minutes to earn the win in both teams GLIAC opener.
Despite 15 first-half points from Ben Stelzer, Tech (3-1, 0-1 GLIAC) found itself down 39-30 at the break as the Pioneers (3-2, 1-0 GLIAC) knocked down seven 3-pointers.
Tech started chipping away at the deficit early in the second half. A Jordan Chartier 3-pointer made it a five-point game at the 16:47 mark. Later in the half, another Chartier triple pulled the Black and Gold within 53-52.
Kyle Stankowski‘s free throws with 6:53 left gave Tech their first lead of the half. The lead changed hands five more times, the last being a layup by MU’s Nate Sheppard with 2:44 to play that left the score 59-58.
The Huskies missed the front end of a one-and-one on the next possession, then couldn’t get a rebound on the other end. Ben Haraway scored on Malone’s third opportunity with 1:30 to go.
Stelzer missed a 3-point attempt to tie the game at 1:19, then Jason Hawke had a layup roll out at the :22 mark.
Haraway made four free throws in the final seconds to seal the win.
“Credit Malone on a great game,” said Tech coach Kevin Luke. “They say you can’t win a game in the first half, but you can lose it. I thought that’s what happened to us tonight. They started hitting shots and they just kept going in.
“It seemed like we weren’t quite ready to go and didn’t play our game.”
Stelzer finished with a game-high 19 points, but was an uncharacteristic 6-of-16 from the field including 2-of-9 from long range. Chartier (11 points) and Stankowski (10) joined him in double figures.
Malone cooled off in the second half, but still shot 47 percent for the game. Tech hit 43 percent from the floor. Both teams had 30 rebounds.
Sheppard (18 points) and Haraway (17) paced the Pioneers.
Michigan Tech will wrap up its five-game road stint to open the season with a 3 p.m. tipoff at Walsh on Saturday (Dec. 6).
(Information/Photo Courtesy of MTU Athletics)