PORT HURON, MI – The Bay Norse (6-3) would see a late lead slip through their fingers as they would fall to the Mid Michigan Lakers (4-2) by a final score of 69-68. The loss snapped a six game win streak for the Norse.
The Lakers would pull away late in the first half, grabbing an 11 point lead just before the halftime break. Ryan Robinette (FR, Escanaba, MI) would beat the buzzer with a three-point basket to send the Norse to the locker room down eight.
The Norse would slowly cut into the lead and eventually use a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead midway through the second half. Bay would take advantage of a Laker cold spell, and a Robinette three-pointer would give them an 11-point lead with 4:45 remaining in the contest.
At that point it would be the Norse who would go cold from the field, allowing the Lakers to cut into the lead. Mid Michigan would pull within five, but a monstrous put-back dunk by Kobi Barnes (SO, Milwaukee, WI) looked to give Bay College the momentum back with 1:25 remaining.
Out of the a timeout, the Lakers would get a jumper to fall and then step up their defense. A turnover would give the Lakers a layup on the offensive end and cut the lead to just three points. After the Laker full-court pressure would fail to create a turnover, they would elect to foul and put the Norse on the free throw line with a chance to make it a multiple possession game with just 22 seconds remaining. The Norse would falter at the line, missing both attempts, and keeping the Lakers' comeback alive. Down by three, Mid Michigan would choose to attack the rim on the following possession, converting and cutting the lead to just one point. Full court pressure would succeed this time, creating a turnover. Bay College would foul Jaylen Rutherford with just five seconds left in the game. He would proceed to hit both attempts from the charity stripe, giving the Lakers the lead. A last second attempt by the Norse would fall short, and they would drop a gut-wrenching decision by a final score of 69-68.
As they were down the stretch, free throws proved to be the Achilles' heel for the Norse. They would make just eight of their 23 attempts in the matchup.
Bay College's Tyler Willette (SO, Escanaba, MI) would end the afternoon with a double-double, scoring twenty points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Robinette would go six of nine from three-point on his way to twenty points, while Alfonzo Fields (SO, Milwaukee, WI) would add 14 points and four rebounds.
Westin Myles would lead the Lakers with 18 points and eight rebounds. Rutherford would add 14 points and eight rebounds, while Caleb Cooper and Colin Carter would score 13 points and grab seven rebounds apiece.
The Norse will look to bounce back on Saturday afternoon when they face off with St. Clair County Community College. That game will be the finale of the St. Clair County Classic Tournament, and is scheduled to begin at 5 PM.