SAGINAW, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team suffered a tough 73-69 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference loss at Saginaw Valley State Saturday afternoon to close out a four-game road trip. The Huskies built a 13-point lead late in the second half, but the Cardinals rallied in the final minutes on their home floor to come out on top.
"This felt like the Grand Valley State game all over again," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "This was a difficult loss to take. We have a really good team, but made too many mistakes going down the stretch in the second half. Credit goes to Saginaw Valley State for making the shots that they needed to on their home floor. We'll continue to work at getting better and still have some things to learn going into the final seven games of the regular season. We'll practice hard this week as we get ready to face two more solid teams in Purdue Northwest and Parkside next weekend."
Michigan Tech (14-7, 8-5 GLIAC) began the game quickly with five consecutive points from junior Trent Bell. Bell launched a triple about a minute and a half into the action and then tossed home a mid-range jumper to make it a 5-0 score at the 17:21 mark. Saginaw Valley State (14-7, 8-5 GLIAC) closed to within two points at 7-5 on a Myles Belyeu layup, but Bell hoisted in another trey to make it 10-5 in favor of Tech with 16:01 on the clock.
The two sides traded baskets over the next few minutes until the Cardinals sliced the gap to one point at 15-14 on a Sebastiano Lamonato layup with just over 12 minutes to go until the intermission. The Huskies then strung together seven points in a row to give themselves a larger cushion. Senior Kyle Monroe got things rolling with a layup, added a triple, and then junior Dawson Bilski sent in a fade away jumper with 9:27 to go until the half, resulting in a 22-14 Tech lead.
The Cardinals charged back with an 8-0 run of their own to pull to within one point again at 22-21 via a Darnell Hoskins, Jr. layup at the 5:39 mark. The contest reverted back to both teams exchanging baskets until Tech built a 33-26 lead on a Monroe jumper with just over a minute to play in the first period. Saginaw Valley State collected the final two points of the first when Malik Ellison got to the bucket right before the buzzer sounded, leaving the score at 33-28 with 20 minutes in the books.
The Cardinals duplicated their 8-0 scoring burst at the outset of the second half to pull in front 36-33 for the first time in the game. Ellison capped the initial charge by Saginaw Valley State with a three-point bucket at the 18:08 mark. The Huskies spent a timeout and regrouped on the ensuing possession. Sophomore Owen White dialed in a triple from the wing to tie the score at 36-36 and then gave the lead back to Tech on another triple following a defensive rebound from junior Isaac Appleby.
The Huskies kept the momentum rolling on treys from Monroe and Bilski followed by a two-point jumper from Monroe. The bucket capped a 14-0 run with 11:49 remaining in the game and left the Huskies standing with a 47-36 advantage. Tech eventually engineered the largest lead of the afternoon for either side when Bilski found the bottom of the net from three-point land. The field goal made it a 54-41 score with 8:28 to go in the second half.
Unfortunately, the Huskies weren't able to put the Cardinals away and they countered with an 11-0 run over the next two minutes. An Ellison layup at the 6:36 mark reduced the Huskies lead down to two points at 54-52. Tech appeared to settle in again and thanks to a pair of triples from Bilski and a free throw by White, the lead grew back to nine points at 61-52. However, trailing 63-57 with 3:19 left, the Cardinals stormed back with a 13-0 run in three minutes to go up 70-63 with 17 seconds to play. Appleby fired in two triples to bring Tech back to within two points at 71-69 with 5.5 seconds on the clock, but Ellison secured the win for SVSU with two free throws.
The Huskies were powered by Monroe who collected 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the double-double. Bilski followed with 16 points and Appleby rounded out the double-digit scorers with 13 points. Appleby also notched a double-double of his own thanks to a team high 13 rebounds. Bilski and Appleby shared the team lead in assists with four apiece on Saturday at Saginaw Valley State. The Huskies were successful on 27 of 61 shots from the field (44.3%), were 13 of 29 from behind the three-point arc (44.8%), and 2 for 6 at the free throw line (33.3%). Tech out-rebounded the Cardinals 39-32 and dished out a combined 13 assists.
Ellison tossed in a game high 28 points for Saginaw Valley State while Belyeu delivered 25 points and seven rebounds. James Toohey chipped in two points and reeled in a team best eight rebounds. The Cardinals found the target on 25 of 58 shots from the floor (43.1%), were 5 of 23 from three-point range (21.7%), and 18 of 24 at the charity stripe (75.0%). The Cardinals had 17 points off turnovers and 34 points in the paint.
The Huskies return home for Winter Carnival Week starting Thursday when the play host to Purdue Northwest in the SDC Gym. The tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.