Tech Rallies from 17-Point Deficit to Knock Off Top-Ranked Golden Eagles

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Indiana Tech men’s basketball team knocked off its fourth top-five team of the season on Saturday afternoon inside the Schaefer Center as they overcame a 17-point first half deficit to defeat No. 1-ranked and Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) rival Cornerstone in overtime, 74-67. The win snapped the Golden Eagles 19-game winning streak and it is the first time the Warriors have knocked off a team ranked number one in the country.

Dylan Phair scored a career-high 29 points while he grabbed six rebounds. Darren Groves recorded his third double-double of the season with 19 points and 16 rebounds while Scott Schwieterman added 13 points and seven rebounds. Phair and Joel Wincowski would play all 45 minutes of the barn-burner.

The two teams would trade baskets over the first three minutes of the game with the score all knotted up at 6-6 at the 16:59 mark in the first half. Cornerstone would take an 11-8 lead off a three from Kyle Steigenga with 15:12 on the clock while the Golden Eagles used an 11-0 run to extend their advantage to 33-16 with just over six minutes until the half.

Tech would slowly chip away at the deficit over the last five minutes of the half though, as they closed out the first 20 minutes of play on a 9-0 run and held the number one team in the nation scoreless for the last 3:54 of the half to enter the locker room trailing 36-31.

The defensive stranglehold on Cornerstone would continue into the second half as the Orange and Black extended the scoreless drought to the 16:29 mark of the period while they scored the first eight points of the half to take a 39-36 lead with 16:46 to play. Tech would get up by as many as four at 53-49 with 9:45 on the clock, but the reigning WHAC champions would not go away as they fought back to take a 63-61 lead with 1:43 left in regulation.

CU would have a pair of chances to ice the game in the last minute of the half, but would miss their lone shot from the field and the front-end of a one-and-one, while committing a pair of turnovers, while Groves got a critical steal with 17 seconds to play and found Phair on the break for the game-tying layup with 11 seconds to go. An offensive foul by the visitors would give Tech the final shot, but the three-pointer from Groves would rattle out as the Warriors headed into overtime for the third time in their last four games.

Cornerstone would take a 65-64 lead 71 seconds into the extra session, but the Orange and Black would score the next six points to go ahead 70-65 with 22 seconds to play, and iced the game by going 4-4 from the free throw line in the final 13 seconds to pull off the biggest upset in program history.

Tech (19-4, 11-2 WHAC) returns to action on Wednesday as they host Aquinas in their “Suits and Sneakers” Game as part of Coaches vs. Cancer Week. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. from the Schaefer Center.

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