March 6, 2013

Tech Men Top Northwood in OT; Will Host GLIAC Final Four

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Jordan Chartier buried a game-tying 3-pointer with 17 seconds left, and Michigan Tech outscored Northwood 20-10 in overtime to survive tonight's GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal at the SDC Gym. Paired with a loss by top-seeded Wayne State, the No. 2-seeded Huskies will now host the GLIAC Final Four this weekend.

Tech trailed by four with 2:12 to play before Austin Armga hit four straight free throws to knot the game at 67. NU's Wes Wilcox scored on the next possession, and Darvin Ham added a free throw with 27 seconds left for a 70-67 advantage.

Chartier hit his 3-pointer from the left corner to bring the home crowd of 1,050 roaring to life. Wilcox misfired on a potential game winner at the end of regulation, sending the game to extra time.

The homestanding Huskies used a 10-0 run in the overtime to pull away. Ali Haidar's three-point play with 4:02 left gave the hosts the lead for good. Tech made all nine of its free throws in the overtime period including four from Armga to pull away down the stretch.

"I'm still not sure how we were able to come back," said head coach Kevin Luke. "The difference might have been the crowd. It was awesome. We seemed to draw a lot of energy from the fans."

The game featured 12 ties and 17 lead changes. Tech needed three free throws at the end of the first half to take a 33-32 lead into the locker room.

The Huskies built up a pair of seven point leads early in the second half as Haidar and Armga carried the offense. The Timberwolves bounced back to grab a 48-47 lead with 11:29 to play. Neither team was able to get any separation on the scoreboard for the final 10 minutes of the half.

Northwood switched to a zone defense in the second half. Armga made eight free throws down the stretch to keep the Huskies close. The junior knocked down all 16 of his free throws in the game to reset the school record for best free throw percentage in a game (1.000 at 16-for-16).

Chartier's 3-pointer was his only basket of the game.

"Typical GLIAC Tournament game," said Luke. "I give our kids a lot of credit. They kept their composure and never quit.

"I'm really happy for Chartier. He's worked really hard on his game."

Haidar finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. With his 20th point, he surpassed Rod Ruth's school record for points in a season (675 in 1987-88). Haidar now has 681 points this year.

All five Tech starters scored in double figures. Armga posted 22 points with 18 coming after halftime. Ben Stelzer (14), Phil Romback (12) and Alex Culy (11) all reached double digits.

Northwood was led by Wilcox, who scored a game-high 28 points.

In a game where field goals, 3-pointers, rebounds and turnovers were nearly identical, it was free throws that made the difference. The Black and Gold connected on 27-of-29 (93 percent) compared to 15-of-20 (75 percent) for the Timberwolves.

The Huskies will play No. 3-seeded Findlay Saturday (Mar. 9) at 1 p.m. in the GLIAC Semifinal. No. 4 Grand Valley State and No. 8 Lake Superior State will meet in the other semifinal at 3 p.m. The GLIAC Championship will be played at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Mar. 10). All three games will be played at the SDC Gym. Tickets will be available beginning tomorrow (Mar. 7) morning.

Notes: Armga's 16-for-16 free throw effort surpassed the old school record of 12-of-12 held by Radayl Richardson (vs Findlay 12/16/06), Matt Cameron (vs Minnesota Duluth 12/11/2002) and Chris Gutkowski (vs. Minnesota Morris, 1/25/1980) … Tech is hosting the GLIAC Final Four for the first time since 2003 … The Huskies are now 20-7 overall -- their first 20-win season since 2003-04.