Courtesy of MTU Athletics
*FINDLAY, Ohio* – The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team advanced to the GLIAC Tournament Championship game with a 75-62 victory over Malone on Saturday (March. 8) from Croy Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Findlay. The Huskies will play tournament host Findlay at 2 p.m. on Sunday (March 9).
Tech’s last two appearances in the GLIAC Championship were against Findlay. The Huskies lost 73-68 in 2004 after winning 68-66 in 2003.
Findlay defeated Walsh 104-74 in the first semifinal to advance to the championship game. GLIAC Player of the Year Greg Kahlig scored a GLIAC record 55 points in the game for the Oilers.
Ben Stelzer opened the game where he left off on Wednesday, burying two 3-pointers in the first 46 seconds. He scored a career-high 34 points in the quarterfinal win over Grand Valley State.
“We got off to a nice start,” Tech coach Kevin Luke said. “Ben was aggressive early and that was huge.”
Tech (22-6) quickly led by 10 after scoring 13 of the first 16 points.
Malone (15-13) trimmed the first half lead to seven with 3:09 left before halftime but a pair of free throws from Austin Armga and Stelzer’s fourth 3-pointer of the half gave the Huskies a 34-24 lead at the break.
Tech built its lead to 16 points 6:15 into the second half after a Stelzer trey and Armga jumper.
The lead extended to 18 with 7:35 on the clock. An 8-2 run by the Pioneers got the margin to nine with 66 seconds left, but it was too-little too-late for upset-minded Malone, who took down top-seed Lake Superior State in the quarterfinal.
Armga finished with 26 points, his 19th game hitting the 20-point plateau this season, making 9-for-16 from the field. He also added six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Stelzer finished with 21. Alex Culy tallied 10 points, four rebounds and four assists. Jason Hawke added six points and five assists.
Tech shot 48.1 percent (25-for-52) from the floor and 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from beyond the arc. At the free throw line, the Huskies made 16-of-18 (88.9 percent).
Isiah Elliot scored 22 points for Malone, while Vince Kazmierczak was also in double figures with 11. Malone made 38.3 percent (23-for-60) from the floor and 7-for-29 (24.1 percent) from deep.
“We took care of the basketball and executed down the stretch,” said Luke.
The Oilers defeated the Huskies 86-73 in the regular season meeting at Croy Gymnasium on Dec. 12. Armga scored his 1,000th career point in the game, finishing with 26. Kahlig scored a game-high 32 for UF.
“We have a tall task tomorrow,” added Luke. “Troy’s going to have to work hard on defense and we’ll need to get him some offensive support.”
The championship game tips off at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Mix 93.5 WKMJ will broadcast the game live on the radio in the Houghton area and online at Pasty.com <http://pasty.com/>. You can also watch it on Findlay’s web stream at http://www.findlay.edu/uftv/Documents/UFoilers_live.aspx.