HILLSDALE, Mich. — Michigan Tech played a strong game from start to finish to defeat Hillsdale 78-67 in men’s basketball tonight at Potter Arena. The Huskies received 19 points from Ben Stelzer and 15 more from Phil Romback to improve to 11-4 overall and 8-3 in GLIAC play.
Tech built a double-digit lead in the first half as it put up 40 points. Six different Huskies scored at least four points the stanza led by Ben Stelzer’s nine. Romback also had seven points as Tech shot 53 percent from the field.
The Black and Gold held a 40-29 advantage at the break.
The Chargers (8-7, 6-5 GLIAC) pulled within 42-36 in the first four minutes of the second half. Tech answered with a layup from Luke Heller. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Romback pushed the margin back to a dozen two minutes later.
HC switched to zone defense to try to slow down the Huskies’ offensive attack. Stelzer hit a 30-foot triple for a 15-point margin, then Dillon Gordon buried another trey for a game-high 16-point gap.
Hillsdale battled back within eight at the 6:05 mark, but four straight free throws pushed Tech’s lead into double figures again.
Tech made 6-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes to hold off the Chargers.
“I’m really proud of our club,” said Tech coach Kevin Luke. “(Assistant) Coach (Josh) Buettner did a great job getting the guys ready to go.
“We defended hard, and we knew they weren’t going to go away. It wasn’t comfortable until right at the end, and we’re happy to get out of here with a win.”
Tech finished at 49 percent from the field including 48 percent from 3-point range. Hillsdale shot 43 percent from the floor including 40 percent from long range.
Perhaps the stat of the day was rebounding. The Black and Gold held a 35-27 advantage in that category.
Stelzer’s game-high 19 points came on 5-of-7 3-point shooting to go with four free throws. Romback went 5-of-8 from the floor with three triples for a season-high 15 points.
Jason Hawke and Jordan Chartier added 10 points apiece.
HC’s Kyle Cooper posted 18 points and a game-high 15 rebounds to lead the hosts.
Michigan Tech will have one of its toughest challenges of the season on Saturday (Jan. 24), when it plays at Saginaw Valley State at 3 p.m. The Cardinals are 14-2 overall and 11-0 in the GLIAC.
(Information/Photo Courtesy of MTU Athletics)