HOUGHTON, Mich. — Ben Stelzer knocked down two 3-pointers in the final two minutes and scored 24 points to lead Michigan Tech to a 70-59 victory over Findlay in the Huskies’ home opener tonight. Stelzer turned a four-point margin into a seven-point gap twice down the stretch to give Tech its first GLIAC win (4-2 overall, 1-2 GLIAC).
The teams battled through a tight first half that saw neither team lead by more than five through the first 18 minutes. UF was up 28-26 with 3:44 to go in the stanza before Tech put together a 13-0 run. Jordan Chartier hit back-to-back 3-pointers, Kyle Stankowski made a baseline jumper and Jason Hawke buried a triple as the half expired on a great pass from Stankowski to go into the locker room up 39-28.
Findlay (2-3, 1-2 GLIAC) pulled within two points twice in the second half but could never take the lead away from the hosts. Tech got layups each time off of pin-point passes from Chartier to extend the lead. The first basket was from Luke Heller, who had 10 second-half points and 14 for the game. The second was from Stankowski.
The Oilers buried a 3-pointer with 2:21 to go to pull within 60-56. Stelzer answered immediately with a pull-up triple at the 2:00 mark.
Findlay nailed another trey 10 seconds later. Chartier missed the front of a one-and-one, but Heller pulled down the rebound and Stelzer eventually made it a seven-point game again. His second three-pointer in a minute span came after he faked the shot and waited for the defender to fly by.
Stelzer and Hawke both made a pair of free throws in the final minute to ice the win.
“I thought it was a typical, hard-fought GLIAC game,” said Tech coach Kevin Luke. “Findlay tried to scheme us up a little bit with some different defenses, but we made the proper adjustments and made shots.
“It was huge for us to hang onto the lead down the stretch. That kept them from getting the momentum, and they’re a really good team to try to stop once they get it rolling.”
Stelzer made 6-of-11 from behind the arc and added four assists. Chartier finished with 14 points, a game-high-tying six rebounds and five assists.
Tech had 20 assists on 26 field goals while committing just 11 turnovers against Findlay’s defensive looks.
The Black and Gold shot 67 percent in the second half and 55 percent for the game while holding UF to 43 percent in the contest.
Heller’s 14 points were a season high, and he had five rebounds as part of a 30-19 rebounding edge for the home team.
“It was important for our big guys to make some baskets,” added Luke. “And to outrebound a good club like Findlay by 11 says a lot.”
Findlay was paced by Dylan Kaufman’s 19 points.
Michigan Tech will try to make it 2-0 at home and pull back even in the GLIAC standings when it hosts Wayne State Saturday (Dec. 13) at 3 p.m.
(Information/Photo Courtesy of MTU Athletics)