The Michigan Tech men's basketball team advanced to the GLIAC Tournament Championship game with a 75-62 victory over Malone on Saturday (March. 8) from Croy Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Findlay. The Huskies will play tournament host Findlay at 2 p.m. on Sunday (March 9).
Tech's last two appearances in the GLIAC Championship were against Findlay. The Huskies lost 73-68 in 2004 after winning 68-66 in 2003.
Findlay defeated Walsh 104-74 in the first semifinal to advance to the championship game. GLIAC Player of the Year Greg Kahlig scored a GLIAC record 55 points in the game for the Oilers.
Ben Stelzer opened the game where he left off on Wednesday, burying two 3-pointers in the first 46 seconds. He scored a career-high 34 points in the quarterfinal win over Grand Valley State.
"We got off to a nice start," Tech coach Kevin Luke said. "Ben was aggressive early and that was huge."
Tech (22-6) quickly led by 10 after scoring 13 of the first 16 points.
Malone (15-13) trimmed the first half lead to seven with 3:09 left before halftime but a pair of free throws from Austin Armga and Stelzer's fourth 3-pointer of the half gave the Huskies a 34-24 lead at the break.
Tech built its lead to 16 points 6:15 into the second half after a Stelzer trey and Armga jumper.
The lead extended to 18 with 7:35 on the clock. An 8-2 run by the Pioneers got the margin to nine with 66 seconds left, but it was too-little too-late for upset-minded Malone, who took down top-seed Lake Superior State in the quarterfinal.
Armga finished with 26 points, his 19th game hitting the 20-point plateau this season, making 9-for-16 from the field. He also added six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Tech shot 48.1 percent (25-for-52) from the floor and 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from beyond the arc. At the free throw line, the Huskies made 16-of-18 (88.9 percent).
Isiah Elliot scored 22 points for Malone, while Vince Kazmierczak was also in double figures with 11.
Malone made 38.3 percent (23-for-60) from the floor and 7-for-29 (24.1 percent) from deep.
"We took care of the basketball and executed down the stretch," said Luke.
The Oilers defeated the Huskies 86-73 in the regular season meeting at Croy Gymnasium on Dec. 12. Armga scored his 1,000th career point in the game, finishing with 26. Kahlig scored a game-high 32 for UF.
"We have a tall task tomorrow," added Luke. "Troy's going to have to work hard on defense and we'll need to get him some offensive support."
The championship game tips off at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Mix 93.5 WKMJ will broadcast the game live on the radio in the Houghton area and online at Pasty.com. You can also watch it on Findlay's web stream at http://www.findlay.edu/uftv/Documents/UFoilers_live.aspx.