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Huskies Edged by Kentucky Wesleyan (RV) Saturday Afternoon

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team came up just short in a non-conference game 80-78 against Kentucky Wesleyan Saturday afternoon in the final game of the 2016 calendar year at the SDC Wood Gym. The Huskies stormed back from a 10-point second half deficit to take a late lead, but a layup by the Panthers' Adam Stanford with 2.5 seconds on the clock proved to be the difference in the contest.

"One of the biggest things I have to concentrate on as the leader of this club is to make sure we don't give up," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "We are close, it's a shot here, a shot there, a rebound there, and a missed free throw here that holds us back and that's what happened tonight. We played well enough to win and Kentucky Wesleyan is a very good club. If we can stay with and compete hard against a club like them then that means, we are close."

Kentucky Wesleyan (10-3), who is receiving votes in the latest NABC NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, powered out of the gate with the first five points on Saturday afternoon. Jordan Jacks and Ken-Jah Bosley knocked down a layup and a triple respectively for the Panthers in the opening minute.

Trailing 9-3 with 16:03 remaining in the first half, Michigan Tech (5-7) engineered a 9-2 run to grab their first edge of the contest. Sophomore Kyle Monroe cashed in a layup followed by a three pointer from senior Jordan Chartier. Monroe found his mark from 15 feet on a jumper and then a Chartier bucket gave the Huskies a 12-11 lead with 13:36 left in the opening half.

Neither side created a gap greater than two possessions for the remainder of the first period. Tech built a four-point lead at 17-13 on a trey by sophomore Bryan Heath with 11:26 to go until the break. Kentucky Wesleyan's largest advantage was 33-27 with 3:13 on the clock thanks to a jumper by Charles Foster. Sophomore Kyle Monroe answered with a triple for the Huskies to keep the Panthers from pulling away late in the half.

Kentucky Wesleyan held a 37-33 lead at the intermission, but relinquished the edge back to Tech in the first three minutes of the second half. Monroe converted a conventional three-point play to make it 41-39 with 17:13 to go in the contest. However, the Panthers would string some baskets together near the midpoint of the final half. It resulted in the largest lead for either team when Stanford tossed in a layup to make it 58-48 with 11:25 to play.

It took over seven minutes, but the Huskies clawed their way back in front with just over four minutes to go in the game. Monroe worked his way to an open spot beyond the three-point arc where freshman Tommy Lucca found him with a pass. Monroe buried the triple to give Tech a 70-69 edge.

The Panthers pulled in front again a minute later 74-70, but Tech put together a 5-0 run a couple minutes after that to grab a 78-76 lead. Lucca drove to the basket for a pair of layups and a Monroe free throw was point number 78 of the game. Unfortunately, the afternoon's final four points would belong to KWC. Jacks made a pair of free throws to tie the score 78-78 and then following a Tech turnover, Stanford made the game winner in the final seconds.

Monroe guided the Huskies with a game high 29 points and six rebounds while Heath poured in 18 points on a 6 of 12 shooting performance from the field. Chartier chipped in 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists with Lucca rounding out the double digit scorers with 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Defensively, Chartier came up with a pair of steals for Tech.

As a team, the Huskies made good on 28 of 58 shots from the field (48.3%), they were 10 for 27 from three-point land (37.0%), and 12 of 17 at the charity stripe (70.6%). The Tech defense forced 12 turnovers which led to 16 points and 30 of the 78 points were scored in the paint.

Bosely led the Panthers with 21 points and four assists followed by Charles Foster with 13 points, Michael Vigilance tacked on 11 points, and Stanford recorded 10 points. Bosely and Vigilance each collected a game high seven rebounds on Saturday. Kentucky Wesleyan was 31 of 53 from the field (58.5%), 7 of 15 from three-point range (46.7%), and 11 of 13 (84.6%) at the free throw line. The Panthers had 29 points tallied by non-starters in the contest on Saturday.

The Huskies will look to bounce back on Thursday when they return to Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play at Ashland University. The tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.