ALLENDALE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to force overtime in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference showdown Thursday night at 11th ranked Grand Valley State. Unfortunately, the Lakers were able to hold off the Huskies in the extra frame 95-93. Senior Kyle Monroe broke a school record for most points in a game with 53 and tied the school record for most three-point baskets made with 10. Monroe posted 44 of his points in the second half and overtime.
"Grand Valley State is a very good basketball team and they didn't go away and we were unable to put them away," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "The difference in the game is they were able to have a better balance than we did. Kyle [Monroe] put on an awesome display of offense which was as good as I've seen in my time coaching at Tech. We just needed to make some more plays in crunch time and come up with some stops on defense. Our guys played their hearts out and from a coaching standpoint, you can't ask for anything more than that.
"Davenport is a very athletic team that can get up and down the floor and guard you effectively. It doesn't get any easier, but I'm looking forward to getting back on the floor and competing Saturday. We'll rest up tomorrow and get our guys ready to face the Panthers. We have a great group of players and I'm confident in their ability to bounce back."
Grand Valley State (16-2, 9-1 GLIAC) got the upper hand during the early stages of the first half. Christian Negron posted the first two points of the night for the Lakers followed by layups from Jake Van Tubbergen to make it 6-0 with 17:58 on the clock. Michigan Tech (13-5, 7-3 GLIAC) countered when junior Dawson Bilski found the bottom of the net at the 16:17 mark. Junior Tommy Lucca then dialed in a triple to draw the Huskies to within one point at 6-5 with 15:36 left in the half.
Tech continued to trail 12-9 when junior Isaac Appleby knotted the contest at 12-12 on a trey with 11 minutes remaining. Lucca then splashed home a triple to grant the Huskies their first lead of the evening at 15-12 with 10:26 to go until the intermission. The two sides traded buckets throughout the majority of the first half and eventually the Lakers held a 29-28 lead with 2:31 to play in the opening period. Grand Valley State ended up firing in the final seven points of the first half to carry a 36-28 advantage into the locker room at the intermission.
Michigan Tech began to get things rolling at the outset of the second half when junior Trent Bell delivered the first five points to bring the Huskies to within three at 36-33. Monroe evened things up at 38-38 on a triple with 17:25 on the clock and then with 14:41 remaining in the contest the Huskies found themselves back in the lead 45-42. Monroe sent home one of his 10 three-point baskets on the night for the go-ahead bucket.
Monroe continued to rack up the points but with 6:37 left to go in regulation, it was sophomore Owen White who granted the Huskies their biggest advantage of the contest at 72-59 thanks to a pair of free throws. Monroe cashed in the next five field goals for Tech, but the Lakers were able to chip away at the deficit and suddenly they were within two points at 84-82. Van Tubbergen tied the game at 84-84 on two free throws at the 27 second mark of the second half and both teams were unable to decide the outcome on their final offensive possessions.
Grand Valley State began the extra period with a 9-1 run to build a 93-85 edge with 2:25 left. The Huskies engineered one final rally in the last minute, beginning with two free throws from Monroe. He then landed home a triple at the 1:02 juncture before a Lucca trey found the target to close the gap to 94-93 with five seconds remaining. Isaac Gassman made one of two free throws, leaving the door open for Tech to attempt to tie or win the game. The Huskies pushed the ball up the floor with 3.5 seconds left, but a long jump shot at the buzzer was blocked by Van Tubbergen to seal the win for the Lakers.
Monroe powered the Huskies with his record setting 53 points, which broke the previous standard of 50 points. Monroe had 50 points at Saginaw Valley State on February 8, 2018 and Larry Grimes poured in 50 points against St. Cloud State on January 29, 1972. Monroe finished the night making 20 of 28 shots from the field while going 10 for 13 from three-point land. Monroe tied Ben Stelzer's record for most triples in a game which was established at Hillsdale on December 14, 2013. Bilski followed Monroe with 12 points while Lucca chipped in nine points and dished out seven assists. Appleby added three points and pulled down a team best seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end of the floor.
As a team, the Huskies dropped in 34 of 74 shots from the floor (45.9%), were 16 of 35 from long distance (45.7%), and 9 of 13 at the charity stripe (69.2%). Tech combined for 21 assists, scored 12 second chance points, and had 26 points in the paint.
Jeremiah Ferguson produced 26 points and Van Tubbergen picked up 25 points and a game high 12 rebounds. Gassman rounded out the double-digit scorers with 20 points in Thursday night's game. Ferguson and Jayden Hodgson each dished out three assists. The Lakers found the target on 37 of 66 shots from the field (56.1%), were 8 of 10 from behind the arc (80.0%), and 13 for 23 at the free throw line (56.5%). Grand Valley State had a slight edge in rebounds 38-35 and collected 46 points in the paint.
The Huskies are back on the court Saturday to battle GLIAC foe Davenport on the road. The Panthers lost to Northern Michigan 67-58 at home Thursday night. Saturday's tip-off is slated for 3 p.m. eastern time.