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Huskies Come Up Just Short against Ferris State

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team rallied late, but fell just short against Ferris State 77-76 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference showdown Saturday afternoon in the SDC Wood Gym. The Huskies dug themselves a 12-point hole in the first half, but got things rolling in the second to half to stay close and have a chance to win in the end.

"I thought we played a better second half and had we played a bit smarter in the first half we would have given ourselves a better chance to win," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "I believed all along that we could make a run somewhere in this game and if we would not have gotten so far down I thought that run in the second half could have given us a little bit more of a cushion. Give Ferris State credit, they are a very good team and put us behind in the first half, forcing us to have to make up a lot of ground in the second half."

Senior Jordan Chartier, who established a new single game career high in points (28), started Saturday's contest with a triple for Michigan Tech (11-9, 9-4 GLIAC). Ferris State (17-3, 11-2 GLIAC) then picked up 11 of the next 13 points to establish an 11-5 edge with 16:38 left in the first half. However, the Huskies would counter with three straight triples to go up 14-11 with just over 15 minutes remaining on the clock. The first left the hand of Chartier followed by buckets from sophomore's Bryan Heath and Kyle Monroe.

After the Bulldogs knotted the score at 14-14, Chartier quickly put the Huskies back on top again at 17-14 with another trey. Drew Cushingberry opened a 7-0 run for Ferris State with a couple of layups and a free throw followed by a jumper from Mory Diane to make it a 21-17 score in favor of the Bulldogs with 10:52 remaining in the first half.

Unfortunately, Tech would trail for the remainder of the first half. Monroe brought the Huskies to within three points at 24-21 on a pair of free throws, but the Bulldogs were able to create some separation with an 11-2 scoring burst over the next few minutes. Markese Mayfield converted two attempts at the charity stripe which gave the Bulldogs a 35-23 lead with 3:21 to go until the break. Tech got to within single digits once more in the first half on a conventional three-point play by Chartier, but Ferris State got the final bucket of the opening frame on a layup by Zach Hankins to carry a 40-28 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

The Huskies regrouped early in the second half and chipped away at the deficit. Freshman Tommy Lucca dialed in a triple followed by a layup and free throw from Heath to make it 42-36 in the first four minutes. Tech stayed within striking distance and pulled to within three points at 49-46 on another trey by Chartier with 13:21 on the clock.

Ferris State then bumped the score out to three possessions again at 57-50 on a Peter Firlik layup with 10:27 to go. The Huskies then surged back in front with a 10-0 run which was sparked by two more triples from Chartier, two free throws from Monroe, and a layup off a drive to the basket by Lucca., resulting in a 60-57 lead. From there, the lead fluctuated by no more than three points either way until the final two minutes of the contest.

The Huskies jumped in front again at 71-68 on Chartier's seventh three-point basket of the night with 1:49 left. However, the Bulldogs battled back with eight consecutive points to grab a 76-71 edge with 32 seconds remaining. Heath then came down the floor and drained a big trey for the Huskies to cut it to 76-74 with 13 seconds to go.

Quentin Ruff made one of two free throws for Ferris State before Chartier converted two at the line for Tech with nine seconds to play, making it 77-76 score. The Huskies then put Cushingberry at the line for a one and one which he missed. The rebound came off the rim to Chartier, but unfortunately the Huskies were not able to get a shot airborne on the final possession due to a turnover.

Chartier poured in a game and career high 28 points to lead the Huskies attack on Saturday afternoon. He was 8 of 14 from the field and 7 of 9 from behind the arc, tying is single game career high for triples. Monroe followed with 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on the way to double-double number four this season. Lucca rounded out the double digit scorers for Tech with 10 points and a game high six assists. Heath chipped in nine points and had a pair of steals for the Huskies.

Tech was 25 of 57 from the field (43.9%), 11 of 19 from three-point range (57.9%), and 15 of 16 at the free throw line (93.8%). The Huskies scored 28 points in the paint and generated 15 points from 11 Bulldog turnovers.

Ferris State was guided by Ruff who dropped in 17 points followed by Cushingberry with 13 points. Mayfield contributed 11 points and Hankins recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulldogs converted 26 of 57 shots from the field (45.6%), were 11 of 25 from three-point range (44.0%), and 14 of 19 at the free throw line (73.7%).

The Huskies, who are tied for second in the GLIAC North Division standings, will travel to Marquette on Monday to battle rival Northern Michigan. The tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.