Feb. 9, 2013
Houghton, Mich. - A strong first half of basketball lifted Michigan Tech to a 69-51 victory over Grand Valley State on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 9) in Houghton, Mich. The Huskies took a 34-13 lead into the halftime break and held off GVSU despite the Lakers' valiant push near the end of the contest.
The loss for Grand Valley State snaps the team's three-game win streak over Michigan Tech, including two straight victories in the Upper Peninsula. Both teams are 15-6 overall and 12-5 in conference play. In the GLIAC standings, Grand Valley State, Michigan Tech, and Findlay are all tied for second place with identical 12-5 records with five league games left for the Lakers.
GVSU scored the first points of the game on a jumper from sophomore Ryan Majerle. Over the next 10 minutes, Michigan Tech totaled 12 straight points, pushing out to a 12-2 advantage. The Huskies extended to a 24-7 lead with 4:56 to play and GLIAC Preseason Player of the Year Ali Haidar nailed a three-pointer before the halftime buzzer to make the score, 34-13.
In the opening 20 minutes, MTU shot 54.5 percent from the field (12-of-22) and from beyond the arc (6-of-11). Sharpshooter Ben Stelzer, who was 7-of-8 on three-pointers in the earlier meeting between these two teams on Jan. 12, went 4-of-5 from long distance and scored 14 first half points. The Lakers were 6-of-19 from the field (31.6 percent) and just 1-of-9 from downtown.
Eight straight points early in the second half - a Tyrone Lee layup and three-pointers from Majerle and senior Tony Peters - brought the deficit down to 36-21 at the 16:14 mark. Michigan Tech never let up, however, pushing the lead to 50-25 midway through the second stanza.
The Lakers continued to fight back, immediately scoring nine straight points, the final four coming on free throws from senior Breland Hogan. GVSU was able to pull within 11 points (56-45) at the 4:38 mark after a layup from Ricardo Carbajal and a Peters trifecta. That is close as Grand Valley State would get in the final minutes, as the Huskies finished off the home victory.
For the game, MTU shot 53.3 percent from the floor and made 9-of-20 three-pointers. The Lakers shot 40.4 percent and were 5-of-19 from long distance. Grand Valley State outrebounded the Huskies, 28-23, including a 9-3 advantage on the offensive glass.
The real turning point was turnovers. GVSU committed 11 turnovers, Michigan Tech only turned the ball over four times, and the Huskies had a 16-2 advantage in points off turnovers. Both teams had 20 points in the paint.
Grand Valley State was led by Majerle, who totaled a team-high 10 points. The sophomore added five boards, two assists, and a block. Lee scored nine points with four rebounds and Peters made three trifectas for nine points. Hogan tallied eight points, six boards, and five assists.
For Michigan Tech, Stelzer led the way with 21 points, shooting 5-of-8 from three-point range. Haidar, last season's GLIAC Player of the Year, notched 20 points and nine boards. That was actually under his season average of 24.7 points per game entering Saturday's contest.
GVSU returns to Allendale and will take on Lake Superior State next Thursday night (Feb. 14) in the Fieldhouse Arena. Tip-off is slated for 6:00 p.m.