UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team suffered a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference loss 105-94 in double overtime at Saginaw Valley State Thursday night. It was the first double overtime game for the Huskies since February 25th, 2006 when they went two extra frames against Northern Michigan in Marquette.
"It was a terribly disappointing loss tonight for our team," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "Their offense got clicking in the second half and we weren't able to execute our systems either offensively or defensively. Our guys logged a lot of minutes tonight so we'll look to get some rest and try and bounce back Saturday at Northwood."
The beginning of the game Thursday night didn't lend itself to one that would eventually proceed into double overtime. Michigan Tech (12-10, 9-6 GLIAC) fired out of the gate on a 10-0 scoring run to grab the early advantage. Senior A.J. Grazulis got the Huskies on the board with a layup followed by a triple from junior Bryan Heath. Sophomore Ryan Schuller converted a pair of chances at the free throw line and freshman Dawson Bilski dialed in a triple to cap it with 16:22 to play in the first half.
Sebastiano Lamonato made two free throws for Saginaw Valley State (9-14, 6-9 GLIAC) just over four minutes into the contest. James Toohey provided the Cardinals first field goal of the evening on a mid-range jumper to cut Tech's lead to 10-4 before two triples courtesy of junior Kyle Monroe bumped the gap back to double digits at 16-4 with 14:06 left in the first half. Monroe's buckets generated the first six of what turned into 50 points on the night, tying a Michigan Tech single game scoring record while breaking the GLIAC regular season single game mark.
The Huskies would eventually go up by 18 points with 11:44 to play on the first half clock when Schuller hauled down an offensive rebound leading to a put back basket to make it a 26-8 score. The Cardinals didn't give up and chipped eight points off of their deficit in the final minutes of the half. Mike Wells Jr. brought SVSU to within singles digits at 45-37 on a jumper with 39 seconds to go until the break. Wells Jr. would go on to score 44 points Thursday night. Monroe chalked up the final two points of the half for Tech on a layup to push Tech's lead back to 10 points at 47-37 going into the locker room.
The Huskies were unable to pull away in the second half as the Cardinals quietly trimmed points off of their deficit. SVSU eventually moved in front 61-60 on a James Toohey three-pointer with 10:34 to go. Both offenses were nearly unstoppable for the remainder of the second half and through the first overtime with the lead changing hands seven times during that stretch.
Tech looked to potentially put the game away with 1:35 to go in regulation when Monroe converted a conventional three-point play to make it a two possession lead at 83-78. Unfortunately, Malik Garner quickly answered with a layup and free throw following a Tech foul to cut the Huskies' edge to two once again at 83-81. The gap went back to five points for the Huskies at 86-81 on a trey by Monroe with 36 seconds on the clock, but Wells teamed up with Fred John Jr. to tie the score at 86-86. The Cardinals were also aided by two missed free throws from the Huskies in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.
Neither side produced a lead greater than three points in the first overtime period as the Huskies and Cardinals eventually matched each other point for point, leaving the score deadlocked at 91-91 going into the final overtime. Unfortunately, Saginaw Valley State would record the first eight points to begin the second overtime, culminating on a three-point bucket by Toohey to make it 99-91 with 1:55 to play. It was a deficit the Huskies were unable to recover from.
Monroe led all scorers Thursday night with 50 points and 11 rebounds. Monroe made 15 field goals which included seven successful three-point buckets in that total. Monroe is now tied with Larry Grimes in the Tech record books for most points in the single game. Grimes reached 50 points on January 29th 1972 against St. Cloud State. Heath followed Monroe with 18 points and three rebounds while Schuller matched a career high with nine points and three boards.
The Huskies found the target on 31 of 59 shots from the field (52.5%), they were 13 for 30 from three-point range (43.3%), and 19 of 29 at the free throw line (65.5%). Rebounds were even at 33 apiece for both teams.
Wells Jr. fired in 44 points as he matched Monroe in both total field goals made (15) and successful three-point opportunities (7) for Saginaw Valley State. Toohey followed with 22 points, Lamonato added 15 points along with nine rebounds, and D.J. Hoskins chipped in 10 points to round out the double-digit scorers. The Cardinals took 70 shots and made 39 of them (55.7%), knocked down 15 of 30 looks from three-point land (50.0%), and were 12 of 20 at the free throw line (60.0%).
The Huskies travel up the road on Saturday to face Northwood in a GLIAC showdown to wrap up the weekend. The tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.