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Huskies Extend Win Streak to Five in 72-64 Decision against GVSU

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team won for the fifth straight time Thursday night with a 72-64 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory against Grand Valley State. Tech's last five game winning streak ran from February 5th through the 19th of 2015. The Huskies defeated Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Hillsdale, Saginaw Valley State, and Northwood during that stretch.

"This was a big game for us tonight that moved us ahead of Grand Valley in the GLIAC standings," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "It was a grind it out game and much more like a GLIAC game with the contest remaining within one or two possessions. We hit a couple key shots that gave us a little breathing room in the second half and we were fortunate to hang on. That's a good defensive club and they got a little hot on offense down the stretch too, but we had enough energy to hold them off."

Michigan Tech (11-8, 9-3 GLIAC) trailed 7-5 with 13:19 left in the first half after Drake Baar found the bottom of the net on a jumper for Grand Valley State (12-7, 8-4 GLIAC). The Huskies countered with a 6-0 run to regain the edge at 11-7 with just under 10 minutes to go until the break. Unfortunately, the next three minutes would belong to the Lakers via an 11-2 run which was capped by a Ben Lubutz triple to make it an 18-13 score.

Down 21-17 with 5:24 left in the first half, Tech reeled off eight straight points to surge ahead 25-21. Senior Jordan Chartier opened the scoring burst with a free throw followed by freshman Tommy Lucca who converted two looks at the charity stripe. Sophomore Bryan Heath got the lead back for the Huskies on a layup and Lucca drilled a triple with 2:41 on the clock to cap it. Tech held back the Lakers just enough to eventually carry a 29-28 edge into the locker room at halftime.

The Huskies set the tone for the second half by posting eight of the first ten points onto their half of the box score. Junior A.J. Grazulis banked in two layups during the first minute followed by a layup from Heath and two more points in the paint courtesy of Grazulis. The Grazulis basket gave Tech a 37-30 lead with 15:22 to play in the contest.

The Huskies kept the lead intact the rest of the way, but couldn't get the Lakers completely out of their rear view mirror. Tech went up by double digits for the first time in the game at 58-47 on a pair of free throws by sophomore Kyle Monroe with 5:05 left on the clock.  A Trevin Alexander triple brought the Lakers to within single digits again at 58-49, but Lucca matched his counterpart with a trey that granted the Huskies their largest lead of the night at 61-49 with 4:25 to go in the second half.

With less than two minutes remaining, GVSU chopped the score down to two possessions again at 67-62 on a layup by Alexander and two free throws from Chris Dorsey. Free throws by Grazulis, senior Jeff Gregory, and Lucca expanded the lead back to 70-62 with just 17 seconds to go while the defense came up with some big stops. Heath closed the night for Tech by sinking two free throws to secure the 72-64 victory.

The Huskies had four players in double figures Thursday night, led by Monroe with a game high 19 points, six rebounds and three steals. Heath tossed in 16 points followed by Lucca with 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Chartier notched 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists while Grazulis just missed double digits with nine points and five rebounds.

As a team, the Huskies converted 25 of 57 shots from the field (43.9%), they were 4 of 19 from three-point range (21.1%), and 18 of 24 at the free throw line (75.0%). Tech created 14 points off 17 GVSU turnovers and scored 40 points in the paint.

Luke Ryskamp had 15 points for the Lakers followed by Alexander with 14 points to go along with a game high nine rebounds. Justin Greason rounded out the double digit scorers for Grand Valley State with 11 points and five boards. The Lakers were limited to making 22 of 58 shots from the field (37.9%), were 4 of 19 from behind the arc (21.1%), and 16 of 22 at the free throw line (72.7%).

The Huskies, who are now in sole possession of second place in the GLIAC North Division standings, will host first place Ferris State on Saturday at the SDC Wood Gym. The tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.