HOUGHTON, Mich. ?? In a battle of two of the top teams in the GLIAC North Division, it was Lake Superior State handing Michigan Tech a 79-78 loss at the SDC Gym on Saturday (Feb. 1). For the second year in a row, the game came down to the final seconds and it was the Lakers making the plays in front of 1,422 fans.
After 13 ties and 12 lead changes, it was the Lakers taking the final lead of the game on a Derek Billing's old-fashioned three-point play with nine seconds left.
Tech had its chance as Austin Armga got the ball across half court, splitting his defenders and drawing a foul with less than three seconds on the clock. He went to the free throw line and missed the front end of a one and one situation. Billing rebounded the ball to end the game.
The Huskies fall to 13-5 overall and 9-5 in the GLIAC. LSSU improves to 19-3 overall and 11-3 in conference play.
"Both teams played their hearts out," Tech men's basketball coach Kevin Luke said. "I was pleased with our performance. Lake State is a good club and they deserved to win. It was a typical hard fought, one possession GLIAC game."
With 2:50 on the clock and LSSU holding a 69-68 lead, Kyle Stankowski buried his second 3-pointer of the game??and his career??to put Tech in front.
Tony Harris answered with a jumper on the other end to tie the game. Armga then went to the line and made a pair of free throws, before Cameron Metz answered with a layup.
Ben Stelzer drained a three out of a Tech timeout, giving the lead back to the home team with 1:01 left. Alex Williams quickly answered with a three of his own to again tie the game 10 seconds later.
After another Tech timeout, Armga missed a jumper but Luke Heller was there for the offensive rebound and layup to give the Huskies a 78-76 lead with 20 ticks left.
Armga led four Huskies in double figures with a game-high 28 points and seven rebounds, shooting 10-for-17 from the floor.
"Austin was awesome again today," added Luke. "He just gives us a chance every single night. I wouldn't have wanted anybody else at the line in that situation."
Stelzer and Troy Hecht each scored a dozen while Heller finished with 10 points, six rebounds and a career-high six assists. Stankowski finished one shy of a career-high with six points and Alex Culy chipped in with five.
Tech shot a blistering 62.2 percent (28-for-45) from the field and 8-for-14 (57.1 percent) from three. The Huskies made 14-for-18 (77.8 percent) from the free throw line and held a 26-22 rebounding advantage.
LSSU had five players in double figures led by Cameron Metz with 21. Alex Williams (13), Billing (12), Dasuqi (11) and Harris (10) also had more than nine points for the Lakers who shot 53.7 percent (29-for-54) from the field and 9-for-18 from deep.
The Huskies wrap up the three-game home stand on Monday (Feb. 3) against Northern Michigan. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. following the women's game.
"We need to get some rest for Monday," Luke said. "Northern's a good and improved team. It's going to be another knock it out, drag it out GLIAC game, just like we saw today."