Haidar leads Tech Men to OT win

Courtesy of MTU Athletics

DETROIT, Mich. – Senior Ali Haidar scored 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Michigan Tech men’s basketball team in a 67-61 overtime win at Wayne State Thursday (Feb. 14). The win was the first for the Huskies in Detroit since 2003.

“It has been so long since we won at Wayne that they had peach baskets on the wall the last time it happened,” said head coach Kevin Luke. “It was an exciting win for our program, and I am happy for our seniors.”

Neither team could create much separation in the contest which featured 12 ties and 17 lead changes.

Sophomore Ben Stelzer gave the Huskies their largest lead of the game at eight points following a 3-pointer at 8:23 of the first half.

Wayne State answered with an 8-0 run over the next three minutes. Stelzer would make another 3-pointer and Haidar would add a free throw as the Huskies trailed 25-22 at halftime.

The battle continued throughout the second half with neither team leading by more than four points. Senior T.J. Brown gave the Huskies a two point lead with a lay-up with 44 seconds remaining. Chene Phillips answered with a lay-up for the Warriors 17 seconds later.

The Huskies had a chance to win at the buzzer but their 3-point attempt was off the mark.

Tech jumped out to a four point lead early in overtime with a field goal by Brown and a 3-pointer by junior Alex Culy.

Playing with the lead, the Huskies made 8-of-10 free throws to out-score the Warriors 13-7 in overtime for the win.

Haidar finished with three blocks, two steals and one assist to go along with his double-double (29 points, 14 rebounds).

Senior Matt Esters, who was playing in his hometown of Detroit, finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Gerald Williams-Taylor led WSU with 17 points and 15 rebounds.

Tech finished with eight 3-pointers in the contest and held Wayne to just two. They also tallied a 21-15 edge in free throws.

Tech (16-6, 13-5) will play its final road game of the regular season at Saginaw Valley State Saturday (Feb. 16).