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Men’s Basketball Falls in NACC Tournament Championship Game

Jake Digiorgio ended his illustrious career with 10 points and 13 rebounds (photo credit: Larry Radlof,
Jake Digiorgio ended his illustrious career with 10 points and 13 rebounds (photo credit: Larry Radlof,

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The Illinois Tech men's basketball team took on Aurora University in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) Tournament Championship game on Saturday. After a tightly contested first half, the Spartans managed to edge ahead in the second, defeating the Scarlet Hawks 71-57.

How it Happened

  • Calvin Schmitz has played big for the Scarlet Hawks all tournament, which continued in the early stages of Sunday's game. He scored seven of Tech's first nine points as Tech took the first two-possession advantage at 14-10 on a Milos Dugalic three-pointer.
  • A five-minute drought for the Scarlet Hawks followed and was snapped by a Jake Digiorgio basket with just over nine minutes left in the half. However, Tech played stout defense as well during this stretch, only falling behind by two.
  • Aurora began to pick up the game's tempo, building a lead of four at 22-18 with 5:27 left after a Demetrius Pointer lay-up.
  • The Spartan lead reached as high as six. After a tough Max Hisatake basket on the Scarlet Hawks' last first half-possession, AU's Terrell Wilson made a driving lay-up to score two of his 10 first-half points just before the whistle. Aurora took a 31-26 lead heading into intermission.
  • To start the second half, the Spartans were on the attack. Aurora drew four fouls in the half's first three minutes as the lead reached as high as seven. An Otis Reale mid-range jumper just before the first media timeout cut the deficit a bit to make it 37-32 AU.
  • Wilson kept coming for the Spartans, but the Scarlet Hawks began to heat up from the outside. Muhammad and Reale hit key threes to keep Tech within striking distance.
  • Aurora went to Max Vickers in the post, as the senior scored on two straight possessions to take a 49-40 lead with 9:19 to play.
  • Tech was able to find some offense running Histake out of the high post, feeding Jake Digiorgio for baskets on two straight possessions. However, Aurora's offense did not let up, as the lead reached double-digits with 6:45 left to play.
  • Max Hisatake drained a three, just his second of the season, to bring Tech back to within seven.  Aurora's Bailey Vance responded with a three, then Carlson made two free throws to bring the lead back up to 12 again. Aurora was able to stay ahead and nail free throws the rest of the way.

Scarlet Hawk Standouts

  • Right on cue, Digiorgio ended his career with a double-double. The senior co-captain had 10 points and 13 rebounds to end one of the most outstanding career in school history.
  • Muhammad tallied 13 points off the bench.
  • Hisatake had 11 points and eight boards.

Stats to Know

  • Aurora outrebounded Tech 39-30 and committed 11 turnovers compared to Tech's 13.
  • Tech was held to just 34% shooting, but shot 85% from the free throw line.