The Illinois Tech Men’s Basketball team traveled to Maranatha Baptist University on February 1 after defeating Dominican at home on January 31. For the second time this year, the Scarlet Hawks were victorious over the Sabercats, this time defeating the Wisconsin school 70-60 to move to 14-6 on the season.
How it Happened
- After a back-and-forth early portion of the contest, the Sabercats were the first to take control. A 10-2 MBU run gave the hosts a lead that held for most of the first half.
- It took a while for the Scarlet Hawks to find a rhythm, but the momentum changed late in the first half. Riding the play of Max Hisatake (10 first-half points), Malik Howze (eight first-half points) and Jake Digiorgio (eight first-half points, seven first-half rebounds), the Scarlet Hawks were able to vault back into the contest.
- After it looked like Maranatha forced an empty Illinois Tech possession to end the half, Digiorgio hauled in an offensive rebound and drew a foul with 0.3 seconds left before intermission. The junior drained both free throws to give the Scarlet Hawks a 35-30 lead heading into the break.
- The two teams played even basketball to start off the second half, but Hisatake opened some eyes just after the 13:00 mark, taking a pass, turning, and splitting the defense to slam home an emphatic dunk. The play gave the Hawks a 46-39 lead.
- Despite the slam, the Sabercats were the ones who found momentum after. An ensuing 6-0 Sabercats run over the next two and a half minutes ended with an Illinois Tech 10-second violation, prompting a Todd Kelly timeout.
- Kelly used the group of Hisatake, Digiorgio, Calvin Schmitz, Jake Bruns, and Howze for the final 10 minutes, as the five were able to build the lead back up. Behind some impressive defense, the advantage reached double-digits at 64-54 with just under 2:00 to play thanks to a possession that featured offensive rebounds from both Hisatake and Digiorgio.
- Maranatha hit a few threes over the final two minutes to extend the contest, but could never gain much traction as Illinois Tech protected the basketball to run chunks of time off the clock.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts
- The frontcourt of Hisatake and Digiorgio were ultra-productive, with Hisatake scoring a career-high 22 points. Digiorgio had a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds, his 11th such game of the season. It was also Digiorgio’s 14th straight double-digit rebound performance.
- Coming off the bench, Howze scored 13 points and dished out five assists.
- Schmitz was a perfect three-of-three from beyond the arc for nine points.
Stats to Know
- Illinois Tech suffocated the Sabercats on the glass, holding the hosts to just 19 rebounds, the fewest the Scarlet Hawks have allowed all season.
- On the offensive boards, the Scarlet Hawks did damage late, corralling 11 offensive rebounds in the second half to limit MBU’s possession time.
- Both teams shot a high percentage, with Maranatha (52.2%) slightly edging Illinois Tech (47.2%).
- The Sabercats used just eight players, but all of them scored.
- The Scarlet Hawks are off until Wednesday, February 7 when the team hosts Robert Morris-Peoria at 7 p.m. Live audio, video, and stats will be available. The live audio will be powered by Illinois Media School.