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Huskies Tripped Up by Tiffin

Huskies Tripped Up by Tiffin

TIFFIN, Ohio – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team suffered a tough 71-64 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference loss at Tiffin University on Saturday afternoon. The Huskies opened the week with a come from behind win at Ashland University on Thursday, but the Dragons prevented them from getting back to back road wins to close the week.

"The game boiled down to toughness and Tiffin out toughed us today," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "Tiffin's Austin Adams gave us problems all game and he wanted it more than anyone else on the court. He played harder, he was tougher and we couldn't slow him down. I thought Tommy [Lucca] played well today and put us on his back because they really guarded Jordan [Chartier] and Kyle [Monroe] and focused their defense on them. Right now we have to figure out a way to be more consistent and execute better night in and night out."

Tiffin (8-7, 4-4 GLIAC) got the upper hand early on Saturday with the first four points of the afternoon. Alex Brown hit a jump shot about a minute into the action and then Khaleal McCormick worked his way into the paint for a layup to make it a 4-0 game. Michigan Tech (6-8, 4-3 GLIAC) countered with the next four points courtesy of free throws by freshman Tommy Lucca and a layup by junior A.J. Grazulis. The back and forth theme would be prevalent throughout the first part of the opening half.

The Huskies held the edge twice in the first half, once when Lucca drilled a triple to make it 7-6 with 15:04 on the clock and then at 18-17 thanks to another Lucca jumper at the 9:21 mark. The Dragons used a 9-1 scoring run over the next six minutes to create a 26-19 lead, their largest of the opening period. Adams fired in two of his 25 points to make it a 26-19 score with 3:07 remaining until the break.

Tech chopped it down to one-point at 26-25 on back to back triples by sophomore Kyle Monroe, but Adams struck again with consecutive layups for Tiffin to keep the Huskies in check. Trailing in 32-27 with time winding down in the first half, Lucca gave Tech a boost of momentum right before the buzzer sounded. A steal and an assist by senior Jason Hawke with three seconds to go enabled Lucca to get a triple airborne and through the net before the horn to bring Tech within two points at 32-30 going into the locker room.

With the score in Tiffin's favor at 36-33 and just under 18 minutes left in the game, the Huskies reeled off a 7-0 run to go in front for the first time since the midway juncture of the first half. Sophomore Bryan Heath sank two free throws followed by a Grazulis layup and triple by senior Jordan Chartier, resulting in a 40-36 Tech lead with 15:49 left in the second half.

Unfortunately, the Huskies were unable to extend the advantage and put some distance between themselves and the Dragons. Adams and Brandon Wilkins teamed up to tie the game at 40-40 with consecutive layups before Lucca briefly sent Tech in front again at 42-40 with 12:53 to go. Adams answered by tying the game again with another layup and Wilkins put the Dragons ahead for good with just over 12 minutes left in the final frame.

Tiffin constructed a double digit advantage for the first time at 54-44 when Juwan Johnson hit a step back jumper at the 7:20 mark. Then with 5:04 to play, the Dragons enjoyed their biggest lead of the night when McCormick generated a 60-48 gap on a triple. However, the Huskies kept fighting and clawed to within four points again at 66-62 when Chartier bagged a triple with 38 seconds to go. At that point, the Huskies were forced to foul and Tiffin converted five of six in the final minute to hold off Tech's charge.

Lucca guided the Huskies with a season and career high 29 points followed by Monroe with 14 points and Heath with 10 points. Lucca grabbed nine rebounds, dished out three assists, and had two steals in addition to his point totals. Monroe paced Tech with nine rebounds and matched Lucca's assist totals with three of his own. Chartier ended the game with six points and Grazulis posted four points.

Tech was successful on 20 of 58 shots from the field (34.5%), were 12 of 31 from three-point range (38.7%), and 12 of 16 at the free throw line (75.0%). The Huskies' defense forced 12 turnovers and converted them into 15 points.

Adams guided the Dragons with 25 points and 15 rebounds followed by McCormick who notched 14 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Johnson rounded out the double digit scorers with 11 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Tiffin made 29 of 59 shot attempts from the field (49.2%), were 7 of 15 from behind the arc (46.7%), and 6 for 13 at the free throw line (46.2%). The Dragons out-rebounded the Huskies 43-31 and scored 36 of their points in the paint.

Tech will look to regroup Thursday when the team travels to Wayne State for a GLIAC North Division battle. The tip-off is scheduled for 7:37 p.m.