FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) – The Indiana Tech men’s basketball team won its seventh straight home game, and third consecutive, Tuesday evening inside the Schaefer Center as they defeated Saint Xavier University, 81-71.
Grant Smith notched his fourth double-double of the season with 28 points and 10 rebounds while Rog Stein had 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
Cory McKinney and Lucas Lehrman each had 10 points, with the former adding three rebounds while the latter had eight rebounds and three blocks.
The two teams, who met back on November 7 at the Cornerstone Classic in Grand Rapids, Michigan with the Warriors coming out on top 90-77, battled back and forth for control of the game early on with the Cougars holding a slim 9-8 lead at the 15:40 mark.\
A layup from Smith sparked a 10-0 for Tech though to give the hosts a 19-9 lead with 11:22 on the clock. Following three quick points from Saint Xavier, Lehrman responded with six straight points of his own, including back-to-back dunks off passes from Jeremy Davison and McKinney that started a 13-0 run for the Warriors.
The Warriors defense held the Cougars off the scoreboard from the 10:25 mark until the 2:55 point of the first half to fuel the surge.
The Orange and Black entered the locker room leading 37-20 at the half, with 24 of their points coming from inside the orange paint of Kline Court.
Saint Xavier came out strong to start the second half as they cut the deficit down to 46-32 with 16:29 on the clock, but the Warriors responded with a 15-6 run to go up 61-38 at the 9:48 mark thanks to Lehrman’s third dunk of the evening thanks to a beautiful no-look pass from Smith.
The Cougars would not lay down lightly though, battling back over the last eight minutes of the third half to make it a 66-57 game with 3:36 left to play thanks to a 15-5 spurt.
The visitors continued to put the pressure on the Warriors and made it an eight-point game with 1:21 on the clock, but the Orange and Black held steady down the stretch thanks to 6-8 shooting from the free throw line in the final 62 seconds of the game to win by double-digits.
Tech (9-6) returns to action on Thursday as they host Lincoln College in their final nonconference matchup of the season.
Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. from the Schaefer Center.