Michigan Tech Fends Off Lake Erie In Thriller At Osborne Center

Nate Tait (Photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions, Inc.)
Nate Tait (Photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions, Inc.)

PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Lake Erie College (9-15, 4-13 GLIAC) had a chance to tie or go ahead in the final 15 seconds but ultimately fell short in a 61-58 loss to Michigan Tech University (13-11, 11-6 GLIAC) in a GLIAC cross-divisional matchup at the Jerome T. Osborne Center in Painesville, Ohio. 

It was a balanced scoring effort for the Storm with sophomore guard Nate Tait (South Euclid, Ohio/Brush/Alderson-Broaddus ) leading the way with 11 points and four steals.  Sophomore guard Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) added nine points and sophomore forward Rich Austin and redshirt freshman guard Jamil Dudley (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon) chipped in with eight points each.  Michigan Tech was led by guard Austin Armga with 18 points and forward Ali Haidar with 17 points and 11 rebounds. 

The lead changed hands five times in the opening minutes with Lake Erie going ahead 7-6 on an Austin free throw at 15:40. The Storm would then extend that advantage to 17-8 after a pair of free throws by junior center Jordan Baker (Erie, Pa./McDowell) at 12:17.   The Huskies quickly ran off nine straight points to erase that advantage but Dudley turned steals on back-to-back MTU possessions into fast break dunks and a 21-17 advantage.  Michigan Tech settled down and went on an extended 16-3 run to open up a 33-24 lead with 3:54 to go in the half.  The Huskies took a 37-29 advantage to the second half.   

The Storm came out of the locker room on fire to start the second half as they scored eight points on their first three possessions to tie the score at 37-37 on an Austin three-point play at 17:54.  MTU did not led them get on top and moved ahead 43-39 on a three-point play by Armga.  However, Lake Erie answered with a 6-0 run and took its first lead in 16 minutes of game action when junior guard Alex Davis (Macedonia, Ohio/Nordonia) hit a jumper in the paint at 11:01.  That lead was short-lived as the Huskies scored seven straight points and took a 50-45 edge at 8:53.  Lake Erie cut the MTU led to one before it was extended back out to seven points at 56-49 with 5:02 to go.  A Thomas three-pointer sliced into the MTU lead but a Haidar layup put the visitors ahead 60-54 at 2:16. 

Lake Erie got stops and scores on two straight possessions, as Tait found a cutting senior forward Matt Grendel (Independence, Ohio/Independence) with 1:13 to play to make the score 60-58.  Tait came up with a steal on the other end giving Lake Erie a chance to tie or take the advantage but Michigan Tech was able to strip Thomas on the way to the baskets with 11seconds to play.  The Storm sent Alex Culy to the line with eight seconds to go and he split the pair to give the Huskies a 61-58 advantage.  Lake Erie had a final chance to send the game to OT in the final seconds as Dudley got a good look at a three-pointer from the left wing but hit the back of the iron with the rebound going out of bounds to Michigan Tech. 

Michigan Tech won the battle on the glass, 36-25 and doubled up Lake Erie's makes at the foul line, 14-7. 

The Storm travel to Tiffin University Thursday before returning home for the season finale and Senior Day Saturday at 3:00 p.m. vs. Ashland University.