CHICAGO, Ill. – The Illinois Tech men's basketball team broke up a four-way tie for third place in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) standings on Wednesday night, handing a loss to the Eagles of Benedictine University. Tech (11-7, 8-5 NACC) led by as many as 22 and downed the Eagles (10-8, 7-6 NACC) 78-68.
How it Happened
- Despite the end result going Tech's way, BenU was actually the team to first gain control of the contest. The Eagles went on an 8-0 run in a 1:16 stretch, scoring on three straight possessions to jump ahead 10-5.
- The five point lead would be the largest Benedictine would see all night. Working an offense through the post, the Scarlet Hawks went on a 9-0 run to take a 14-10 advantage. Tech's defense would follow suit, tightening up to hold the Eagles to just 28.6% shooting in the first half.
- Behind Jake Digiorgio's first half double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds), Tech's lead only grew. The Hawks also utilized the three-point line during the first-half spurt, as Digiorgio, Calvin Schmitz, Ahmad Muhammad, and Jake Bruns all hit three-pointers. A Muhammad driving lay-up with four seconds remaining before halftime gave the Scarlet Hawks a 39-22 lead heading into intermission.
- After the break, Parker Joncus exploded to give the Scarlet Hawks an even larger lead. The senior hit three three-pointers over the half's first four minutes. At the 14:00 mark, Max Hisatake recorded a steal before playing point-center, hitting a driving Joncus for a lay-up to give Tech its largest lead of the night (52-30).
- Benedictine was able to prevent any further damage thanks to improved shooting, going 50% (16-of-32) in the final 20 minutes. However, Tech was still able to dominate inside, forcing the Eagles to foul and slow the pace of the contest down. The Scarlet Hawks were in the bonus with 8:46 left in the half.
- With three minutes left, the Eagles brought the score to within 10 (72-62) for the first time since the 7:40 mark of the first half. However, the closest BenU would get the rest of the way was nine points as the late run fell short.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts
- Digiorgio had a monster evening, scoring 24 points and hauling down 17 rebounds. He was 10-of-13 from the foul line, dished out two assists, and blocked two shots.
- Hisatake also recorded a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
- Joncus had one of his best evenings of the year, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
- Muhammad scored 10 points and brought down four rebounds.
Stats to Know
- The Scarlet Hawks outrebounded the Eagles 38-31 for the game and 23-11 in the first half.
- Tech shot 56.3% from three-point range (9-of-16) compared to 8-of-27 (29.6%) for Benedictine.
- Illinois Tech shot 50.0% (28-of-56) from the floor compared to Benedictine's 40.0% (24-of-60).
- Another big contest in the NACC Tournament picture awaits the Scarlet Hawks on Saturday, as Tech will visit the Regents of Rockford University. Tech currently holds a one-game advantage over Rockford for third place in the conference. The game is set to begin at 4:15 p.m.