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Huskies Suffer GLIAC Loss at Lake Erie Thursday

Huskies Suffer GLIAC Loss at Lake Erie Thursday

PAINESVILLE, Ohio – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team came up empty on Thursday night at Lake Erie College 77-73 to open a two game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference road trip. The Huskies held a 35-33 lead at the break, but couldn't generate an extended scoring run to pull away.

"Give Lake Erie credit because they outplayed us in every aspect tonight," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "We didn't execute very well and missed a number of opportunities throughout the course of the game. If you're not ready to play in this conference, you'll get beat and that's what happened tonight. We'll bounce back from this one and get ready to play at Ohio Dominican on Saturday."

Michigan Tech (3-5, 1-1 GLIAC) and Lake Erie (1-9, 1-2 GLIAC) traded baskets back and forth throughout the entire night. Neither team had an advantage larger than six points in a game that featured 10 ties and 21 lead changes.

Things started on a high note for the Huskies when senior Jordan Chartier fired in a triple to get the scoring going in the first half. Gabe Kynard would put the Storm in front 4-3 on a pair of buckets before sophomore forward Kyle Monroe cashed in a triple to give the Huskies a 6-4 edge with 16:48 left in the first half.

Michigan Tech and Lake Erie would then take turns with the lead until late in the first half. With the game tied 27-27 following a Ryan Middendorf triple, the Huskies scored five straight points on a jumper by junior guard Dillon Gordon and a three-pointer by freshman guard Tommy Lucca. A Jordan Humphrey layup trimmed Tech's lead to 32-29 before a Gordon trey gave the Huskies what would be their largest lead of the night at 35-29. The final four points of the half went to the Storm, resulting in the 35-33 score in favor of Tech at the break.

With 11:52 remaining in the second half, Lake Erie had some momentum on their side when Sean Howard created a 54-49 lead on a conventional three-point play. The Huskies fought back with seven straight points on a pair of layups by junior forward A.J. Grazulis and a conventional three-point play when Lucca drove to the basket for a layup while drawing contact. Lucca cashed in the bonus free throw to make it a 56-54 score with 10:14 to go.

The trend of trading baskets resumed until the final minute of Thursday night's game when the Storm reeled off six straight points to establish a foothold. Two Lucca free throws tied the game 70-70, but Lake Erie regained the lead on a Nick Wells jumper with 1:03 left. Free throws by Kynard and Wells expanded the gap for Tech to 76-70 with 19 seconds on the clock. Monroe kept the Huskies hopes alive when he buried a three-pointer at the top of the arc with 13 seconds left.

Tech was forced to foul and Jordan Humphrey was unable to bump the Storm lead back to two possessions after two misses at the charity stripe. The Huskies grabbed the rebound off the second miss, but unfortunately couldn't get a potential game tying shot airborne. Brogan Scott was able to knock the ball loose for a steal that would seal the win for the Storm.

Lucca poured in 24 points for the Huskies to lead all scorers in Thursday night's contest. Lucca was 8 of 12 from the field and 3 of 4 from three-point land. He also grabbed a team high six rebounds and delivered five assists. It was the fifth time that Lucca has reached 20 or more points in a game this season. Grazulis ended the night with 12 points thanks to going 5 of 8 from the field followed by Chartier with 11 points and Monroe with 10 points. Chartier matched Lucca with six rebounds, distributed four assists, and came up with four steals.

The Huskies closed the game 28 of 58 from the field (48.3%), were 8 of 24 from three-point range (33.3%), and 9 of 11 at the free throw line (81.8%). Tech had 12 total assists and scored 24 of their points in the paint.

The Storm was powered by Wells with 19 points and eight rebounds while Kynard and Sean Howard each chipped in 15 points. Scott rounded out the double digit scorers with 11 points and equaled Wells with eight rebounds. Lake Erie was 29 of 53 from the field (54.7%), 6 of 16 from three-point range (37.5%), and 13 of 20 at the free throw line (65.0%). The Storm out-rebounded Tech 33-28 and had 36 points in the paint.

The Huskies will look to regroup on Saturday when they travel to Ohio Dominican for another GLIAC contest. The tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.