FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) – The Indiana Tech men’s basketball team fell to the University of Saint Francis in another close contest between the two downtown Fort Wayne rivals, falling 69-63 Monday afternoon inside the Hutzell Athletic Center.
Rog Stein led the Warriors with a team-best 19 points and nine rebounds while post mate Josh Kline had 15 points and nine rebounds. Cory McKinney had 14 points, four assists and three rebounds while Grant Smith had eight points, two rebounds and two assists.
The Warriors held a dominant advantage inside the paint, outscoring the Cougars 34-22, but USF was able to take advantage behind the three-point line, going 11-24 (45.8%) while Tech was just 4-19 (21.1%) from downtown.
The Cougars held control of the game early, leading 15-6 at the 11:12 mark of the first half thanks to a 10-2 run and just one basket from the Warriors over a six-minute stretch.
Back-to-back buckets in the paint from Stein, who repeated as the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Player of the Week earlier in the day, sparked a 10-3 run for the visitors and brought them within a basket at the 8:04 mark, trailing just 18-16.
Saint Francis responded quickly though, pushing the lead back up to eight points with 3:35 on the clock, but that would be the last time they would see the ball go through the net for the rest of the half.
The Orange and Black ended the period on an 8-0 run, with a pair of free throws from David Froedge knotting the game up at 30 with 19 seconds to go.
The hosts got the lead back quickly though with a three-pointer from Lance Dollison on their opening possession, and the Cougars built their advantage up to 11 points, thanks to five triples with, just over 11 minutes to go in the game.
A 9-0 run from Tech, powered by a three and a half minute scoring drought from the Cougars, brought them back to just a 54-52 deficit at the 7:32 mark.
USF continued to hold onto the lead over the next five minutes until a basket from McKinney at the 2:12 mark knotted the game up for the second time on the afternoon, this time at 61.
A triple from Dollison two possessions later though would give the Cougars the lead back for good while a three-pointer from Antwaan Cushingberry was the dagger for the Warriors as USF went ahead 67-63 with 15 seconds to go.
Tech (6-4) continues nonconference action Thursday as they take on their seventh opponent from the Crossroads League this season in Huntington University.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. from Platt Arena.