BIG RAPIDS, Mi. The Michigan Tech men's basketball team rallied from a 19-point second half deficit at Ferris State to tie the game late, but came up just short 76-71 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest Thursday night on the road. Senior Kyle Monroe tied the school record for career points with a game high 31, matching Larry Grimes for 2,360 points in the Tech record books.
"Credit to our players for battling back against one of the top teams in the country on their home floor, giving us an opportunity to go ahead in the final two minutes," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kevin Luke said. "We played extremely well in the second half with the exception of a couple of mistakes. The margin for error in this league on the road is very small and those made a difference in the game tonight. Credit to Ferris State for making the shots they needed to down the stretch.
"It's an incredible feat for Kyle [Monroe] to be able to tie the all-time scoring record at Tech. To go on the road and get 31 points against a great team like Ferris State was outstanding. He played great defense tonight and grabbed some key rebounds for us as well. We now have to bounce back Saturday against another tough Lake Superior State team on the road. I'm proud of our players effort tonight and on the season as a whole. We'll be ready to go again on Saturday."
Michigan Tech (16-8, 10-6 GLIAC) fired out of the gate with Monroe sending home a pair of three-point baskets to open the night. Ferris State (23-5, 12-4 GLIAC) then got on the board with back-to-back buckets from Logan Ryan to make it a 6-4 score with 17:36 to play in the first half. Junior Dawson Bilski then found the target from long distance to push the advantage to 9-4 in favor of the Huskies on the ensuing possession.
Tech's lead fluctuated between one and two possessions over the next nine minutes as both sides traded buckets. Monroe gave the Huskies a five-point lead once again at 20-15 with 7:41 to play until the intermission at the free throw line. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs tipped the scales in their favor with a 15-0 scoring run, culminating on a Dorian Aluyi triple with 3:33 remaining on the first half clock.
The basket made it a 30-20 score at that juncture before Tech climbed back to within six points at 33-27 on a Bilski layup with just over a minute to play until the intermission. Ferris State got a triple from D'Angelo Hughes with 56 seconds left in the half, but a Bilski free throw sliced the gap to eight points at 36-28 going into the break.
The Bulldogs continued to add to their advantage in the early moments of the second half and the Huskies eventually found themselves down 58-39 with 11:35 to go in the game. However, the Huskies kept battling and methodically chipped away at Ferris State's lead. Monroe made it a 10-point contest at 63-53 with 7:43 to play on a pair of successful tries at the free throw line.
Aluyi momentarily bumped the Bulldogs lead over 10 again at 65-53 with a mid-range jumper, but Tech would counter with a 7-0 scoring run. Sophomore Owen White sank two free throws to get it started followed by a triple courtesy of junior Trent Bell. Monroe capped it with a layup and the Huskies were within five points at 65-60 with 4:38 left in the second half.
Still trailing 69-62 with just under four minutes to go, Tech engineered another 7-0 scoring burst to knot the score at 69-69. Monroe cashed in a free throw and a triple followed by a trey from junior Isaac Appleby for the equalizer with 1:31 on the clock. Unfortunately, Greg Williams put the Bulldogs back on top on the ensuing possession. The Bulldogs would close the game posting seven of the final nine points. Aluyi ended up sinking five free throws in the last 60 seconds to seal the win for Ferris State.
Monroe made 10 of 17 shots from the field on his way to a game high 31 points for the Huskies Thursday night. Monroe also hauled down four rebounds for Tech against the Bulldogs. White followed with 13 points and four rebounds while Appleby tacked on eight points and a game high six rebounds and eight assists. Senior Ryan Schuller chipped in seven points and five rebounds off the bench while Bilski and Bell wrapped up the night with six points.
As a team, the Huskies found the target on 22 of 44 attempts from the field (50.0%), were 10 for 22 from three-point range (45.5%), and 17 of 23 at the charity stripe (73.9%). Tech out-rebounded Ferris State 28-26 and had 22 points in the paint.
The Bulldogs were guided by Hughes with 18 points, Ryan ended the night with 17 points, and Aluyi rounded out the double-digit scorers with 16 points. Ryan reeled in a team high eight rebounds and Walt Kelser along with Michael Peterson dished out five assists each. Ferris State connected on 29 of 58 shots from the field (50.0%), were 8 of 16 from behind the arc (50.0%), and 10 for 12 at the free throw line (83.3%).
The Huskies will look to regroup on Saturday when they travel to Lake Superior State for another GLIAC showdown. The Lakers defeated Northern Michigan 82-68 Thursday night. Saturday's tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. eastern time.