ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team picked up a big 80-75 win at Lewis University in overtime on Saturday night to open the 2016-17 season. The game went back and forth all night with 12 ties and 12 lead changes between the two teams.
"This was a tremendous win for us tonight in the season opener," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "It was a game where if we played well we would give ourselves a chance to win and we were able to do that. I thought our execution was good and we had some guys step up after Kyle Monroe left the game early with an injury. We were able to make some big plays and hit some key shots down the stretch and once again executed really well in overtime."
Michigan Tech (1-0) got the offense out and rolling 13 seconds into the contest when Jordan Chartier fired in a triple for a quick 3-0 lead. However, a few seconds later Delaney Blaylock drove the lane for a layup, giving Lewis (0-1) their first points of the night.
Bryan Heath countered with a triple for the Huskies at the 18:39 mark of the first half followed by another Chartier two-point field goal. Heath then capped the mini scoring run with a jump shot to make it a 10-6 game with 16:19 remaining in the first half.
The Flyers would then counter with the next eight points to gain their first advantage of the night. Miles Simelton gave Lewis a four-point cushion at 14-10 with 14:39 to go until the break. The Flyers would stay in front until a Jason Hawke bucket with just under 12 minutes to go in the half momentarily put the Huskies back ahead 17-16.
From there, the two teams traded baskets until late in the first half when Tech closed the period on a 10-3 run. With the scored tied 24-24, Heath sank a pair of free throws with just under five minutes to go in the first to give the Huskies a 26-24 edge. Heath would add two more field goals along with a bucket from Chartier and a free throw by James Wezensky capped the run and made it a 34-27 game at the break.
Tech bumped the gap to nine points at 40-31 about four minutes into the second half on a jump shot from AJ Grazulis. Lewis pulled to within five again at 44-39 on a Cristen Wilson layup with 13:10 on the clock, but back to back triples from Tommy Lucca and Hawke gave the Huskies their biggest lead of the game at 50-39 with 11:56 to go.
However, Lewis wouldn't go quietly and thanks to a pair of Blaylock free throws with 8:45 to play, the contest was tied 51-51. Baskets were once again traded down the stretch until a three pointer by Heath and a layup from Lucca put Tech in front 66-61 with 39 seconds to go.
Miles Simelton kept it a one possession game at 66-64 for Lewis on a three pointer with 31 seconds left only to see Lucca sink a pair of free throws for Tech with 19 seconds on the clock. Unfortunately, the Huskies saw the lead dissipate on a Blaylock layup and two free throws. Tech missed a pair of tries at the charity stripe during that span enabling Blaylock to tie the game 68-68 at the line with three seconds to go.
The Huskies regrouped during the short break and established a quick 70-68 lead on the first basket in overtime courtesy of Wezensky. Simelton would give the Flyers their only lead of the extra frame when he sank a triple to make it 71-70 with 4:18 on the clock.
The turning point in overtime came for the Huskies when Wezensky cashed in a layup followed by another Chartier triple with 3:12 to play. The three-pointer increased Tech's lead to 75-71 and they would never relinquish it. The Flyers got back to within two points again at 77-75 on a Simelton trey with 17 seconds left, but some clutch free throw shooting by Heath and Chartier iced the game away.
Lucca had an impressive collegiate debut by pouring in a team high 24 points to lead the Huskies on Saturday night. Heath fired in 23 points followed by Chartier with 16 points in the contest. Lucca and Hawke both shared the team lead in rebounding with seven boards each while Lucca dished out four assists and came up with three steals. Chartier and Heath also contributed on the glass with five rebounds apiece.
As a team, the Huskies were 24 of 66 from the field (36.4%), 11 of 30 from three-point range (36.7%), and 21 of 31 at the free throw line (67.7%). The defense forced 16 Lewis turnovers which turned into 19 points. They also had 13 second chance points thanks to offensive rebounds.
Blaylock ended the night for Lewis with 24 points followed by Simelton with 18 points. Anthony D'Avanzo chipped in 11 points and Cristen Wilson rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points. Wilson also had a game high 13 rebounds an D'Avanzo also recorded a double double with 10 rebounds Saturday. The Flyers were 25 of 55 from the field (45.5%), 8 of 26 from three-point land (30.8%), and 17 of 26 (65.4%) from the free throw line. Lewis had a slight edged in rebounding 42-39.
The Huskies will be back in action on Sunday when they take on UW-Parkside at Lewis starting at 2 p.m.