SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team forced overtime with a late rally Saturday afternoon, but fell 98-84 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference contest at Lake Superior State University on the road. The Huskies came all the way back from a 14-point halftime deficit to knot the score on two free throws by sophomore Kyle Monroe in the final minute, but a barrage of 11 straight points by the Lakers to start the extra frame proved to be the difference.
"I'm proud of our guys for battling back, but disappointed that they (Lake Superior St.) played a little harder than us, especially to begin the game and to start overtime," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "Lake Superior State set the tempo and sped us up on offense. At times we weren't able to execute our systems on offense and defense, but to our credit we were able to keep fighting and went in front late in the second half. Our guys didn't give up and now we return home and have to bounce back next week. There are still a lot of games left to be played and we are contending for a spot in the GLIAC Tournament and a chance to host a playoff game."
Michigan Tech (13-10, 11-5 GLIAC) faced a deficit for the majority of the afternoon, starting on the opening possession when Josh Goldschmidt knocked down a triple for Lake Superior State (13-7, 10-6 GLIAC). Freshman Tommy Lucca, who would eventually score a season and career high 29 points, delivered the first bucket for the Huskies on a jumper at the 19:22 mark of the first half. The Lakers notched the next four points on two layups by Michael Nicholson to make it 7-2, but sophomore Bryan Heath dialed in a trey to slice the gap for Tech to 7-4 with 17:46 remaining in the half.
The Huskies were still within two possessions at 13-9 after senior Jordan Chartier knocked down a long range jumper with 16:43 left in the first half. Unfortunately, the Lakers reeled off 10 straight points to create a 23-9 gap just seven minutes into the contest. Down 28-17 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the half, Jeff Gregory began a run of eight straight points on a jumper to get the Huskies right back into the contest. Chartier followed Gregory's basket with a pair of triples to make it a 28-25 score with 9:01 on the clock.
The Lakers called a timeout to regroup and out of the break reeled off six points on consecutive layups by Akaemji Williams, Nicholson, and Goldschmidt. The Lakers went ahead by double digits again at 38-27 on a jumper by Michael Smutny before closing the half with two layups from Carson Manger to carry a 46-32 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Trailing 61-48 with just under 13 minutes to go, the Huskies clawed back to within three points at 61-58 on the strength of a 10-0 scoring burst. Chartier produced eight of the points on two treys' and a pair of free throws before junior Tanner Uren capped the run on a jumper with 10:50 on the clock. However, Smutny provided a conventional three-point play and Goldschmidt tacked on a layup to thwart the Huskies for the time being.
The Huskies kept picking themselves back up and chopped the Lakers lead down to two points twice before two free throws by Heath deadlocked the score at 73-73. Goldschmidt momentarily gave the Lakers a two-point edge again at 75-73, but a Lucca triple pushed Tech ahead for the first time at 76-75 with 2:25 to go in the second period.
The score remained unchanged for nearly two minutes until Jordan Dasuqi dialed in a triple from the left corner for LSSU, giving the Lakers a 78-76 edge again with 45 seconds left. Monroe then drew contact from Manger and was sent to the free throw line where he tied the game at 78-78. The Huskies got a stop on defense after a missed jumper by Williams, but couldn't get a shot airborne before time expired in regulation.
Lake Superior State exploded out of the gate in the extra session with two-three pointers from Williams and Dasuqi. Smutny added a conventional three-point play and Goldschmidt closed out the run with a layup at the 2:29 mark of overtime. Lucca had the only six points for Tech in overtime, coming on a free throw, layup, and three-point field goal.
Lucca powered Michigan Tech with a game high 29 points, five rebounds, and seven assists followed by Chartier with 19 points and five assists. Heath and Monroe rounded out the double digit scorers with 15 points apiece while Monroe grabbed a team high 11 rebounds which resulted in his sixth double-double of the 2016-17 campaign.
The Huskies finished the game making 29 of 62 shots from the field (46.8%), they were 12 of 28 from three-point range (42.9%), and 14 of 17 at the charity stripe (82.4%). Rebounds were even at 37 apiece in Saturday's contest.
Williams closed the afternoon as the leading scorer for LSSU, pouring in 28 points on a 10 for 16 shooting performance from the field. Goldschmidt and Smutny had 17 points apiece and Manger had 12 points and a team high nine rebounds for the Lakers Saturday. LSSU was successful on 37 of 75 shots from the field (49.3%), made 11 of 29 attempts from behind the three-point arc (37.9%), and converted 13 of 14 shots at the charity stripe (92.9%).
The Huskies will be back on the court Thursday when they host Wayne State in the SDC Wood Gym at 7:30 p.m. Tech will then battle Saginaw Valley State in Houghton on Saturday at 2 p.m.