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Tech men end season in GLIAC Semifinal loss to Hillsdale
March 5, 2012 - Michael Bleach
The last time the Michigan Tech men faced Hillsdale, the GLIAC No. 1 seed blew the Huskies out of the Lower Peninsula with a 91-69 thrashing.
Leading up to the GLIAC semifinal rematch against the Chargers, Tech coach Kevin Luke said Hillsdale couldn't play any better, and his squad couldn't play worse.
He was right.
But just barely.
Hillsdale ended the men's team's season with a 84-62 blowout, getting 30 points from First-Team All-GLIAC forward Brad Guinane and 13 assists (against one turnover) from fellow All-GLIAC member Tyler Gerber.
The Chargers shot 55.9 percent from the field — an improvement for Tech from the 59 percent allowed last time — and knocked down 11-of-26 3-pointers.
"(Guinane) did everything," Luke said. "Him and Gerber, the two seniors stepped up and had monumental games. They picked and popped us to death. We tried every defense we had and we couldn't even slow him down."
Tech got 21 points from Ali Haidar and 24 points from Austin Armga, but that was it for the Huskies offensively.
The non-Haidar/Armga players shot 29 percent from the field.
According to Luke, Hillsdale played pretty much full-deny on Alex Culy and Ben Stelzer, willing to give Haidar room to operate inside at the cost of stopping Tech from three. Haidar was effective, with his 21 points coming on 9-of-14 shooting, but not enough so to offset a scoreless day from Culy and just four points from senior forward Mike Hojnacki.
The Huskies hit 4-of-17 threes.
"Credit to their defense," Luke said. "They didn't let Stelzer and Culy get into a rhythm and get off a clean shot. They were all contested quick shots."
Luke said the score reached blowout proportions as the Huskies started taking more risks on defense in the second half, which led to some lay-ups for Hillsdale.
The game likely ended right in the 1st half, however, as the Huskies had the momentum ripped away from them due to a mental mistake.
With less than 30 seconds to go, Armga cut the deficit to six points by converting an and-one lay-up.
If Tech can get a stop on the last possession of the period, they enter halftime in striking distance with momentum on their side.
Instead, due to a mental mistake — Luke declined to say by whom — Guinane found himself wide open for a three with five seconds to go before intermission.
He buried it.
"We missed an assignment on defense, and man, was he standing wide open," Luke said. "So now its nine instead of six. And then we turned it over on the first possession of (second) half and (Hillsdale) got a lay-up out of it."
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