CHICAGO, Ill. - The Illinois Tech men's basketball team showed a knack for winning the close game during a 22-win 2016-17 season. Thus far in the 2017-18 campaign, it appears not much as changed. For a second straight night, the Scarlet Hawks won a nail-biter, this time downing North Park University 70-69 to move to 2-0 and earn first place at the NPU Tip-Off Tournament.
How it Happened
- A slow start plagued the Hawks against Gustavus Adolphus on Friday. Saturday was a near carbon copy, as a 7-2 Viking run to start the game prompted a quick Todd Kelly timeout.
- Tech would lean hevaily on the play of Max Hisatake and Anthony Mosley Jr. in the first half. The size mismatch both had helped propel Tech back into the contest after trailing by as many as eight early. A three-pointer from Calvin Schmitz gave Tech its first lead of the night, 18-16, at the 12:14 mark.
- The lead would reach as high as six on several occasions, but North Park stayed close all half. Tech led 36-34 at intermission.
- North Park responed with a quick three to take a one-point lead out of halftime, which Hisatake erased with a basket on Tech's next possession. A full 10 minutes would pass before the Vikings took another lead at 50-49, which once again was wiped out fast, this time on a three-pointer from Malik Howze.
- Tech's lead would creep back to as high as seven (63-56 with 5:26 left), but the outside shooting a North Park and some poor Tech foul shooting allowed the Vikings to crawl back. North Park would tie it at 65-65 before Howze made a clutch three with 2:10 to play.
- After two missed opportinutues for the Vikings on the next possession, North Park managed to get a steal and a foul, sinking two free throws with 38 seconds left to pull back within one.
- Two missed Tech foul shots gave North Park the ball with 20 seconds left. After a driving layup by North Park's Billy Kirby to put Tech down one, the Scarlet Hawks came up the floor quickly and found Howze, who drove middle and hit a floater in the paint with five seconds to play for the game-winner.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts
- Hisatake was an absoulte force, recording 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go along with 18 rebounds and four assists, all of which were team-highs.
- Mosley Jr. ended up woth 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting with seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
- Howze finished with just 10 points, but all eight of his second-half points came in key moments, including the game-winner.
- Jake Digiorgio had 15 points and nine rebounds.
Stats to Know
- Mosley Jr., Digiorgio, and Hisatake were named All-Tournament Team.
- Free throws were a problem for both teams. North Park was 66.7% from the line (14-of-21), while Tech was 55.6% (15-of-27).
- The Scarlet Hawks dominated the boards to a 48-28 advantage.
- The Scarlet Hawks will play at Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute, Indiana on Tuesday evening. The game is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. central time (7:30 p.m. eastern).