MILWAUKEE, Wis.- On Saturday, playing on the road at top-seeded Milwaukee School of Engineering did not phase the Illinois Tech men's basketball team. Playing stout defense throughout, the Scarlet Hawks earned a 54-51 victory and will advance to the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) Championship game tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.
How it Happened
- It was a low-scoring contest early, with the Raiders taking an early 12-8 edge. Max Hisatake scored all of the team's first eight points before checking out at the 12:08 mark.
- Ahmad Muhammad scored the next four points for Tech, but the drought for both teams would persist. The two teams went over two and a half minutes without scoring in the middle of the half before MSOE sunk a free throw at the 6:27 mark to make the score 15-12 Raiders.
- Calvin Schmitz caught fire for the Scarlet Hawks, nailing two straight three-point attempts to give Tech a 20-17 lead. However, MSOE responded with two downtown makes as well to make it 23-20 heading into halftime.
- It was the Scarlet Hawks who took control out of the second half gate, with Otis Reale, Schmitz, and Parker Joncus draining threes before the first media timeout. Milos Dugalic swatted away a shot just before the whistle, as Tech took a 29-25 lead with 15:41 to go.
- The Scarlet Hawks lead would reach as high as 11 on a Hisatake lay-up at the 11:05 mark. When the Raiders creeped back to within seven, the Scarlet Hawks quickly responded. Dugalic hit a three at the 6:10 mark to re-take the advantage back up to 11 at 46-35.
- Matthew Kirmse answered for the Raiders. After a Michael Pitrof free throw, he scored five straight points for MSOE to pull the hosts back to within five and prompting a Todd Kelly timeout at the 4:44 mark.
- The Raiders pulled to within three at the next media timeout and then trimmed it to one with 2:50 to play on a Jason Palesse fadeaway. However, the freshman for the Scarlet Hawks stepped up and answered the call. On Tech's next two possession, Reale nailed a three and Muhammad split the defense with a euro step to nail a floater, putting the Scarlet Hawks ahead 52-46 with 1:12 to play.
- MSOE, however, was once again quick to respond. Palesse drained a pair of free throws before Pitrof drained a spot up three with 26 seconds remaining to make the score 52-51 in favor of the Scarlet Hawks.
- Muhammad split a pair of free throws to put Tech back up two. On the final possession, Histake was put on Kirmse and gave Tech a stop with 1.5 seconds to go. The junior then split a pair of foul shots to go up 54-51. The Scarlet Hawks earned a defensive stop to ice the contest.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts
- Considering the game's magnitude, Hisatake put together his best game as a Scarlet Hawk. He had game-highs in points (16) and rebounds (18).
- Muhammad was once again big-time off the bench, as the freshman scored 13 points.
- Schmitz scored nine points on three three-pointers, all coming at crucial moments.
Stats to Know
- The Scarlet Hawks held the Raiders to 30.5% shooting while shooting 37.3% themselves.
- Rebounds were even at 39 each.
- Foul shooting kept the Raiders in the game, as the Scarlet Hawks shot just 47.4% from the line while MSOE was at 78.6%.
- Tech will face Aurora University, the tournament's third seed, in the NACC Championship game at 3:00 p.m. on MSOE's campus. Aurora won the previous two meetings between the schools. Live audio, video, and stats will be available for the contest.