MOORHEAD, Minn. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team suffered an 89-82 loss in overtime at Minnesota State Moorhead Saturday afternoon on day two of the Microtel Classic. The Huskies rallied in the final minute of regulation to tie the game at 69-69, but the Dragons hit some key shots in overtime to take the win on their home floor.
"They are a good club and playing on their home floor they had some guys step and make some big plays," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "I thought we played a much better game than we did yesterday. We passed the ball effectively, had good spacing, and set some nice screens. Even though we lost we were much better offensively and we have something to build on. I feel like playing teams like we did this weekend will prepare us for the GLIAC schedule.
"I thought our defense was solid and that's something we can hang our hat on. If we can play defense at that level, we are going to be in a lot of games. I'm proud that we looked like a Tech team today. We have to continue to learn from yesterday's game and build on today's game as we get ready to face Minnesota Duluth at home Wednesday."
Michigan Tech (2-2) struck first on Saturday when sophomore Ryan Schuller banked in a layup 10 seconds into the action in his first start of the season. MSU-Moorhead (2-2) got the equalizer a few seconds later on a bucket by Addison Park which set in motion a back and forth trend over the next few minutes.
With the score tied 10-10, senior Tanner Uren kicked off an 8-0 Tech run with a jumper at the 13:38 mark which the Huskies the lead. Junior Kyle Monroe followed with two of his career high 40 points and then senior A.J. Grazulis along with junior Bryan Heath dropped in layups to extend the advantage to 18-10 with 11:29 left in the first half.
The Dragons stayed within single digits until freshman Isaac Appleby and Grazulis produced back to back layups in the final minute of the first half, granting the Huskies a 34-24 advantage with 38 seconds on the clock. Park tossed in the final basket of the half for the Dragons with 12 seconds to go, resulting in a 34-26 Tech lead with 20 minutes in the books.
MSU-Moorhead kept things close in the second half and sliced the Huskies' lead down to one at 46-45 with 12:30 to play on a made jumper by Evan Hines. Monroe answered quickly for Tech with a triple on the very next possession. That basket ignited an 11-1 run for the Huskies which generated their largest lead of the night at 57-46.
With just over nine minutes to go in the second half, MSU-Moorhead was able to chip away at their deficit and eventually tied the contest on a three-point basket by Johnny Beeninga with 4:48 on the clock. Hines followed with one of his five triples to give the Dragons their first advantage since the opening half.
MSU-Moorhead stayed in front until the final minute of regulation when Monroe hit a couple of key shots to send the game into overtime. Trailing 68-65 with 41 seconds left, Monroe connected on a jump hook in the lane and then tied the contest at 69-69 with another similar look with 14 seconds to go.
Tech had a promising start to overtime when Monroe dialed in a triple to push the Huskies back in front 72-69 in the first 22 seconds. Unfortunately, Beeninga matched Monroe with a trey of his own, which started a 7-0 Dragons run. The Huskies tied the game again at 80--80 on another successful attempt from behind the arc by Monroe with 1:57 on the clock, but Hines connected on a triple from the corner and Beeninga drove to the basket for a layup to make it an 85-80 score with 44 seconds left. Beeninga and Tanner Kretchman then iced the game away at three throw line for the Dragons.
Monroe powered the Huskies with a career high 40 points and led the team on the glass with 13 rebounds. His previous career high in points was 39, set on December 3rd, 2016 at home against Walsh. His double-double was the first since recording one on February 4th, 2017 at Lake Superior State. Monroe was selected to the Microtel Classic All-Tournament Team.
Grazulis followed with 12 points as he went four of six from the field and at the free throw line. Heath rounded out the double digit scorers with 11 points and came close to a double-double of his own on the strength of eight rebounds. As a team, the Huskies were 34 of 76 from the field (44.7%), 6 for 20 from behind the three-point arc (30.0%), and 8 of 12 at the free throw line (66.7%). Tech out-rebounded MSU-Moorhead 40-37 and scored 32 points in the paint.
The Dragons had co-leaders on Saturday with Kretchman and Hines each firing in 22 points. Hines had 10 rebounds and Kretchman dished out eight assists. Beeninga closed the contest with 17 points while park chipped in 10 points. The Dragons made 27 of 52 shots from the field (51.9%), were 10 of 27 from behind the arc (37.0%), and 25 of 35 at charity stripe (71.4%).
The Huskies return home on Wednesday to host the University of Minnesota Duluth at 6 p.m.