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Huskies Hold Back Minnesota Duluth for 68-65 Road Win

Huskies Hold Back Minnesota Duluth for 68-65 Road Win

DULUTH, Minn. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team got back in the win column on Saturday with a 68-65 non-conference victory at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The Huskies built a 10-point lead late in the second half, but had to hold off a rally by the Bulldogs who could have potentially tied the game on their final possession.

"We really had to work for this win today and both teams were battling hard to come out on top," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "It ended up being a very close game that went right down to the wire. We still need to get better with our execution and tougher late in the game so we don't surrender double digit leads like we had in the second half. It was a great comeback today for Kyle Monroe who led us with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Now with Kyle back, we have to keep working on getting everyone in sync both offensively and defensively. We'll rest up tonight and practice tomorrow to get better for Monday's game at Concordia St. Paul."

Minnesota Duluth (0-4) had the upper hand early in the first half and held the advantage for just over 11 minutes. Logan Rohrscheib recorded the first three points on the day with a triple 28 seconds into the game. Junior A.J. Grazulis helped keep the score close and sparked the Michigan Tech (2-3) offense early with a pair of free throws and two layups, accounting for Tech's first six points.

The Bulldogs eventually built a 16-11 advantage on a layup by Cody Tomlinson with 10:58 remaining in the first half. Tech then countered with six straight points thanks to a pair of triples by sophomore Bryan Heath. The two shots from behind the arc resulted in the Huskies' first lead of the day at 17-16 with 8:55 left until the break.

The two teams then traded baskets down the stretch in the first half. The opening 20 minutes of Saturday's game featured three ties and six lead changes. The Huskies appeared to have some momentum with 2:46 left in the first after another layup by Grazulis made it a 27-23 score. However, UMD tallied the next six points on a pair of three-pointers from Luke Harris and Kyle Schalow. Senior Jason Hawke then got to the charity stripe for Tech with a second left in the half, tying the game 29-29 as both teams headed to the locker room.

Following a pair of free throws by Grazulis to start the second half for the Huskies, Rohrscheib gave the Bulldogs a 33-32 edge with 18:59 to go. It would prove to be the final lead for UMD in Saturday's game. Freshman Tommy Lucca quickly knocked down a three-point bucket to push the Huskies in front 35-33. With just over 14 minutes left on the second half clock, sophomore Kyle Monroe hit back to back shots from downtown and Tech suddenly had a double digit advantage at 47-37.

The Bulldogs hung around however and prevented the Huskies from putting the game out of reach. The gap was still at 10 points at 62-52 in favor of Tech following a Monroe jumper with 6:18 remaining in the game. UMD reeled off eight straight points to pull within two at 62-60 and then trimmed the Huskies lead to 64-63 on a Rohrscheib free throw with 1:55 left. Heath provided a key layup for Tech with 51 seconds remaining before a Trevor Entwisle layup made it a one-point game again at 66-65. Lucca then converted a pair of clutch free throws with 26 seconds to go and with Rohrscheib's three-pointer sailing off target as time expired the Huskies were able to hang on for the win.

Monroe powered the Huskies with 19 points and 12 rebounds followed by Heath, Lucca, and Grazulis with 13 points apiece. For Grazulis, his point totals matched a career high which he set last weekend against Southwest Minnesota State. Senior Jordan Chartier chipped in eight points while senior Jeff Gregory dished out a team high seven assists to go along with six rebounds.

As a team, Tech was 24 of 56 shooting from the field (42.9%), 9 for 25 from three-point range (36.0%), and 11 of 14 from the free throw line (78.6%). The Huskies also out-rebounded Minnesota Duluth on Saturday 40-35.

Rohrscheib and Schalow each had 16 points to pace the Bulldogs in Saturday's contest. Sean Burns rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points off the bench. Rohrscheib also grabbed a team best seven rebounds while Entwisle distributed six assists. As a team, UMD was 23 of 59 from the field (39.0%), 10 for 21 from three-point range (47.6%), and 9 for 16 at the free throw line (56.3%).

Tech will take the floor again on Monday night when the team travels to Concordia St. Paul for another non-conference contest. The tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.