Tech men eliminated by Ferris State

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team saw the 2016-17 season come to a close on Saturday with a 79-71 loss at top-seeded and 17th-ranked Ferris State University in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals. The Huskies, as in the previous two meetings of the season gave the Bulldogs all they could handle, but FSU used six successful free throws in the final 30 seconds to hang on for the win.

“It was a tough tight game and there wasn’t a lot of offense in the first half,” Michigan Tech head coach Kevin Luke said. “We were able to keep the scoring low and dictated the tempo in the first half and that was to our favor. In the second half, we dug ourselves a little too big of a hole, but credit goes to our guys for fighting back to give us a chance in the end. It’s tough to say goodbye to our seniors, but we’ve had some tremendous efforts and success with this great class of seniors.”

To say that Saturday’s game was a back and forth battle, especially in the first half, would be an understatement. The two teams traded the lead 13 times and knotted the score 10 times over the course of 40 minutes.

The back and forth pattern continued until the final two minutes of the first half when the Bulldogs rebuilt their lead to four points at 34-30 going into the break. The Huskies had pulled back in front 30-29 on a long range jumper by senior Jordan Chartier, by Markese Mayfield tipped in a bucket and Ruff dialed in a trey to cap the first half scoring for the Bulldogs.

Unfortunately, the 5-0 run expanded into an 11-0 scoring burst at the outset of the second half for Ferris State. Zach Hankins produced a layup and free throw followed by five more points from Ruff on a trey and layup. The offensive output resulted in the first double digit advantage for either side at 40-30 with 18:27 to play in the contest.

The Huskies engineered a 14-3 scoring run beginning with a successful try from behind the arc and a 17-foot jumper by Chartier. Noah King drained a three-pointer for Ferris State, but A.J. Grazulis stepped up for consecutive layups which were setup by assists from freshman Tommy Lucca. Kyle Monroe converted two free throws and then a trey tied the game at 64-64 with 3:46 left in the contest.

Senior Jason Hawke and Heath kept the Huskies’ hopes alive at 73-71 with five straight points, but with less than 40 seconds to play they had to hope the Bulldogs would miss some free throws. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t end up being the case. Ruff, King, and Cushingberry combined to go 6 for 6 at the free throw line in the final seconds.

Monroe ended the afternoon with a game high 22 points, six rebounds, and five assists to power the Huskies on Saturday afternoon. Heath followed with 18 points, Grazulis tacked on 12 points, and Chartier rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points. Hawke chipped in seven points off the bench and Lucca wrapped up the contest with eight assists.