Tech men relinquish division crown to LSSU

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team experienced its worst shooting night of the season, and with it, lost a chance to repeat as GLIAC North Division champs.

The Huskies misfired on 20-of-23 threes and connected on just 32.8 percent overall in a 82-61 loss at Lake Superior State Saturday.

The game clinched the North Division for the Lakers with an 18-3 conference record, and left them one win away from sealing the No. 1 overall seed for the GLIAC Tournament.

“We just flat out did not shoot the ball,” Tech coach Kevin Luke said in a phone interview. “We hung in there for a while, but we did not make enough shots to win. We played hard but couldn’t make a shot.”

The defeat was marred in Luke’s mind by a controversial charge call six minutes in to the second half.

Tech had cut the lead down to eight, when sophomore Luke Heller was whistled for an offensive foul, negating a potential layup that would have brought the deficit to a manageable six.

Lake State forward Alex Williams hit back-to-back threes after that, and the Huskies never recovered from the swing.

In Luke’s mind, there is no doubt that Lakers forward Cameron Metz flopped when Heller made contact with him. Heller had scored six points in five minutes to open the half with Metz defending him.

“He flopped. The kid flopped. That’s what happened,” Luke said. “It would have been a six-point game at the time, but they come back on the other end and hit a deep three, and it all kind of went downhill from there on us.

“There is no place in the game for (flopping). We don’t coach it, and quality programs don’t coach it.

“I’d never blame the officials for a loss, but that was a tough call against us. That being said, the officials weren’t the reason we shot so poorly.”

Even with the loss, the Huskies were able to clinch a home playoff game for the GLIAC quarterfinals. The matchup is still to be determined.

“We were playing for more than that, but it is nice to know you will be at home one more time,” Luke said.