The Michigan Tech men's basketball team fell 69-63 to Findlay in the GLIAC Tournament Championship on Sunday (March 9) at Croy Gymnasium. The Huskies fell to 22-7 on the season and earned the No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region of the 2014 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament. Tech will play No. 3 seed Southern Indiana on March 15 in Springfield, Mo.
"I'm disappointed but so proud to be the coach of this team," Tech coach Kevin Luke said. "For us to get this far and play in this game was exactly what we wanted."
With 4:17 to go and the Huskies down by 10, Jason Hawke kick-started a Tech run as he buried a 3-pointer from deep in the corner.
Hawke then grabbed a defensive rebound and hit Ben Stelzer who was streaking up the middle of the court for the layup. It rimmed out but Austin Armga, who trailing the play, tipped it up to trim the lead to five with 3:01 left.
Alex Culy then stole the ball away from the Oilers on the next defensive possession and found Hawke who side-stepped his defender and made a reverse layup to silence the 1,126 faithful fans dressed in orange.
Findlay (24-5) coach Charlie Ernst called a timeout and put the ball in the hands of GLIAC Player of the Year Greg Kahlig who went one-on-one with his defender Troy Hecht. He drove left and hit a pull up jumper over the outstretched hands of the Husky defender to end the 7-0 run and make it a two-possession game with 1:43 remaining.
"We battled hard to get back in the game late, and the shot that Kahlig made was phenomenal," added Luke. "Troy was draped all over him. That's what MVPs do is make shots like that."
Tech missed a 3-pointer and then sent Findlay's Alphonso Baity to the free line who missed the front end of a one-and-one. Again the Huskies missed a 3-pointer that would've cut the game down to one possession, and this time Jake Heagen made one-of-two at the charity stripe to push it to a six-point game with 27 seconds left.
The Huskies turned it over with 14 seconds left and the Oilers made two free throws between an Armga layup to end the game.
"I can't say enough about the quality of game it was," Luke said. "We have disappointment in that locker room, but we got to the championship game and we can not hang our heads. We're hopefully living to play another day.
"We executed our game plan on offense and played very good defense, holding them to 69 points. We just missed some shots early in the second half.
"The band and Tech fans were awesome and that really meant a lot to us coaches and players."
Findlay opened the second half scoring eight straight, all from Kahlig, to take an 11-point lead. The Oilers started the second half with a 1-3-1 zone defense and Tech missed its first six shots.
After a Jordan Chartier 3-pointer that cut the lead to seven with 12:13 to go, the Huskies went scoreless in the next 3:32. Findlay scored six straight to extend it to a 13-point lead, the largest of the game.
Armga and Stelzer made threes and the Oilers scored three points to make it a 10-point game with 4:17 left.
The first half was a back and forth game that took only about 35 minutes to play. Tech made its first two shots and led 9-5 early in the first half, but the Oilers nailed seven threes and held a 39-36 lead at the break.
Armga and Stelzerâ??who were named to the GLIAC All-Tournament Teamâ??led the Huskies in scoring. Armga finished with a game-high 26 points on 11-for-24 from the field. He also ripped down eight rebounds and dished out four assists. Stelzer scored 14 points and had four rebounds.
Culy added eight points while Chartier made two 3-pointers. Hawke finished with fiveâ??all in that crucial Tech runâ??while Kyle Stankowski tallied four.
Tech shot 42.4 percent (25-for-59) from the field and 11-for-29 (37.9 percent) from behind the 3-point line. The Huskies shot only two free throws, making both.
Findlay made 52.2 percent (24-for-46) from the floor. At the free throw line, the Oilers were 14-for-19 (73.7).
The two teams committed only nine turnovers each.
Kahlig was named the tournament MVP and finished with 22 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Heagen was the only other Oiler in double figures with 15.
Other members of the GLIAC All-Tournament Team were Dylan Kaufman from Findlay and Malone's Isiah Elliott.