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Huskies Edge Hillsdale 71-65 Thursday Night

HOUGHTON, Mich. –The Michigan Tech men's basketball team held on for a 71-65 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Hillsdale Thursday night in the SDC Wood Gym. The game was tight throughout, with neither side holding a lead larger than eight points. The advantage switched sides eight times and the score was deadlocked on four occasions during the course of 40 minutes.

"I'm really happy for the guys and the program," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "It's the first time this season that we have won two in a row. I thought defensively we executed very well against a very high powered offense in Hillsdale. We had a number of player's step up and make some big plays. I like the way things are starting to come together with our team and the progress we've made to where we want to be."

Michigan Tech (5-5, 3-1 GLIAC) exploded out of the gate Thursday night with an 8-2 run during the first two and a half minutes of the contest. Sophomore Kyle Monroe kicked started the offense with a triple followed by a three-pointer from senior Jordan Chartier and another Monroe layup. The Huskies stayed in front until the 13:13 mark of the first half when Harrison Niego granted Hillsdale (4-7, 0-5 GLIAC) its first advantage of the contest at 12-11 on a layup.

The game seesawed back and forth until Tech strung together six consecutive points with 4:30 on the first half clock. Leading 26-24, Monroe dialed in a triple and was fouled in the act of shooting. He proceeded to cash in the ensuing free throw at the charity stripe for a rare four-point play to make it a 30-24 lead. The Huskies then boosted their advantage to 32-24 on a Stoll layup to cap the run.

The Chargers pulled to within three points again at 34-31 on a three-pointer by Niego with 1:44 left in the first, but Tech closed the opening 20 minutes strong with the final four points. Freshman Tommy Lucca sank two free throws and senior Nic Stoll dropped in a jumper at the buzzer to send the Huskies into the locker room with a 38-31 lead at the break.

Hillsdale continued to battle in the second half and wouldn't let Tech completely pull away over the final 20 minutes. The Chargers kept the score within two possessions and drew even with the Huskies twice in the second half. However, each time Hillsdale flirted with going in front, Tech had an answer.

With 9:11 remaining in the contest, two free throws by Rhett Smith balanced the scales again at 48-48. The Huskies were able to answer with a 6-0 run to regain the edge at 54-48 with 8:11 to go. Chartier notched five of the six points for Tech during that span with senior Jeff Gregory cashing in on a key free throw.

The Chargers picked themselves up off the mat and rallied again to knot the score at 55-55 with just under five minutes to play. However, the Huskies had the answer again when Gregory converted two free throws followed by a Chartier triple to make it 60-55 at the 3:12 mark of the final half. Nick Archer sliced the Tech lead to 65-62 on a jumper from behind the arc with 1:38 to play, but six points during a sequence of just over 60 seconds essentially sealed the win for Tech. Monroe tossed in a key jumper to make it 67-62 with 1:12 on the clock followed by free throws courtesy of Chartier and Lucca in the final minute resulting in the final tally of 71-65.

Monroe powered the Huskies with 22 points and seven rebounds in Thursday night's triumph. Monroe was 9 of 14 from the field, including going 2 for 4 from behind the three-point arc. Chartier was 6 for 12 from the field leading to 19 points in the stat sheet followed by Lucca with 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists to round out the double digit scorers.

As a team, the Huskies were 23 of 55 from the field (41.8%), 7 of 21 from three-point range (33.3%), and 18 of 22 at the free throw line (81.8%). The defense forced 20 Hillsdale turnovers which resulted in 21 points. Meanwhile, Tech took great care of the basketball with only seven turnovers on Thursday.

Archer paced the Chargers with 20 points and eight rebounds followed by Niego with 17 points. Hillsdale closed the night 23 of 48 from the field (47.9%), 8 of 23 from three-point land (34.8%), and 11 of 14 from the free throw line (78.6%). The Chargers had the advantage on the glass with 35 rebounds as opposed to Tech's 24.

The Huskies will be back in action on Saturday when they host Findlay for another GLIAC contest in the SDC Wood Gym. The tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.