Balanced scoring carries Tech past Ashland

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech outscored Ashland by 12 in the second half to claim a 79-69 GLIAC men’s basketball victory today at the SDC Gym. Five Huskies scored in double figures as Tech won its sixth consecutive league game and improved to 9-3 overall and 6-2 in GLIAC play.

Ashland had the hot hand early with 6-of-11 shooting from 3-point range and 52 percent accuracy from the floor. Tech stayed in the game thanks to 18 points from Ben Stelzer and 10 more from Luke Heller.

The score at the break was 37-35 in favor of the Eagles (10-4, 4-4 GLIAC).

AU made the first two baskets of the second half to create a seven-point cushion before the Huskies were able to bounce back.

Jason Hawke hit two 3-pointers during a 10-2 run that gave Tech its first lead of the half. The Black and Gold held a 57-55 edge with just over 10 minutes to play when Hawke buried his third triple of the half. That shot and five straight defensive stops led to an 9-0 run for a 65-55 margin.

Hustle plays from Troy Hecht and Stelzer allowed Tech to continue its surge to a max of +17 with three minutes to play.

The hosts did not make a field goal for the final five minutes, but converted on 13-of-18 free throws to earn the win.

“It was a hard-fought game,” said Tech coach Kevin Luke. “We beat a very good club today. Our second-half intensity was key.

“Troy gave us a spark with his hustle, and it was contagious. Then, unlike Thursday, we made most of our free throws down the stretch.”

Stelzer had just four second-half points, but finished with a game-high 22. All four other starters also reached double digits. Kyle Stankowski had 14 with the help of 8-of-8 free throw shooting. Jordan Chartier notched 13 after going 9-of-10 at the stripe.

Heller posted 12 points, five rebounds and a game-high six assists.

Ashland shot 48 percent from the field but made just 1-of-8 3-pointers after half. Tech finished at 45 percent from the floor but converted 28-of-33 free throws (84.8 percent). The hosts also utilized a 37-25 rebounding advantage.

Michigan Tech will continue its home stand with two more games at the SDC Gym next week. Ferris State is up next with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff Thursday (Jan. 15).

(Information/Photo Courtesy of MTU Athletics)