UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. — Michigan Tech built up a five-point halftime lead and held off Saginaw Valley State throughout the second half to earn a 66-58 victory at O’Neill Arena today. Jason Hawke scored a career-high 23 points and Ben Stelzer added 20 more to hand the Cardinals their first GLIAC loss of the season.
From the opening tap, the Huskies turned in one of their best defensive and rebounding games of the year.
The Black and Gold built up a 14-7 lead in the first six minutes as Stelzer hit two 3-pointers. The hosts answered with a 16-2 run over the next six minutes for a seven-point lead of their own.
Tech (12-4, 9-3 GLIAC) countered with a 13-1 spurt to end the half as Dillon Gordon buried back-to-back triples and Phil Romback accounted for five points. The Huskies lead was 31-26 at the break.
Tech maintained control through the final 20 minutes. The Cardinals cut it to as close as four points with eight minutes to go.
Jordan Chartier had a nice drive and dish to Luke Heller at the 7:41 mark to push the lead to 50-44. Tech stopped SVSU on five of its next six possessions to maintain a cushion.
Hawke drove the left baseline for a layup and an 11-point lead with 2:30 to play, and the Huskies made 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to preserve the upset.
“My hat goes off to our players,” said Tech coach Kevin Luke. “This is one of those times as a coach that you’re really proud. We played an outstanding road game against a team that was undefeated in the league. We executed our stuff and rebounded well. Fundamentally, we were really strong all day.”
Tech posted a 37-26 margin in rebounds and shot 46 percent from the field while holding Saginaw to 35 percent. Free throws were also a big factor as the Huskies made 23-of-31 compared to 10-of-21 for SVSU.
Hawke’s career best came as he made all six of his field goal attempts and 10-of-12 at the line. Stelzer was 4-of-11 from the floor and 9-of-11 at the foul stripe for his 11th 20-point game of the season.
It was rebounding by committee today as seven Huskies had at least four rebounds and nobody had more than Troy Hecht’s six.
SVSU (14-3, 11-1 GLIAC) was led by Damon Bozeman’s 13 points. C.J. Turnage, the Cardinals’ leading scorer on the season at 15 per game, was limited to two points.
Michigan Tech, winners of six of its last seven games, plays its next three contests at the SDC Gym. The Black and Gold welcome Northwood to the SDC Gym on Thursday (Jan. 29) at 7:30 p.m.
(Information/Photo Courtesy of MTU Athletics)