Tech men fall by a basket to LSSU

SAULT STE. MARIE — Michigan Tech outscored Lake Superior State 47-38 in the second half but fell 74-72 at Cooper Gym in a GLIAC men’s basketball contest today. The Huskies took a brief second-half lead, but the Lakers hit timely shots to earn the win.

LSSU (23-4, 18-3 GLIAC) opened the game on a 15-2 run and had its largest margin of the game (20-6) with 10:30 left in the half. Jason Hawke and Dillon Gordon stroked 3-pointers to cut the margin to eight just a minute later. The visitors closed the gap to six before the Lakers finished the half with a 36-25 advantage.

Tech (18-7, 15-6 GLIAC) had a strong opening to the second stanza, shutting Lake Superior out for the first 6:23 of the half. The Black and Gold tied the score at 36-all with 15:20 showing, but didn’t grab its first lead until Kyle Stankowski’s 3-pointer with 6:34 to play. That made the score 50-48.

LSSU’s Jordan Dasuqi then knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers for a 54-50 advantage. The Huskies remained within 57-55 with three minutes to play, but Tony Harris hit a trey off the dribble for a five-point cushion. Harris would hit two more contested buckets to give his team a 67-59 advantage with 1:00 showing.

Tech didn’t give up. By fouling and hitting shots, the Huskies forced the Lakers to make free throws. Ben Stelzer’s deep 3-pointer with 0.2 remaining accounted for the final points.

“We played really well in the second half, but you can’t play just one half and expect to win,” said Tech coach Kevin Luke. “They made some timely shots, and we gave up way too many offensive rebounds.”

Lake Superior State, which finished with a 35-28 rebounding advantage, turned 12 offensive boards into 17 second-chance points. The Huskies had two fewer turnovers than the Lakers and shot better everywhere except 3-point range. The hosts made 11-of-25 to Tech’s 7-of-22.

Stelzer finished with 22 points with the help of a 12-of-14 performance at the foul line. Phil Romback added 15 points. Luke Heller (nine points), Stankowski (nine) and Hawke (eight) gave the Black and Gold some scoring balance.

Harris totaled 22 points off the bench to pace LSSU.

Michigan Tech, which has clinched a home game in the GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal, will finish the regular season next Thursday (Feb. 26) at Northern Michigan. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

(Information/Photo Courtesy of MTU Athletics)