ESCANABA, MI - The Bay Norse Men's Basketball Team (14-7) would drop a close battle with the #20 Dakota County Technical College Blue Knights (16-4) on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Knights would end up taking the 84-75 road win.
In a rematch from just ten days before, a game which the Norse won 83-79 on the road, the two teams would find themselves in another tight contest. The game would feature 14 lead changes and 12 ties, as neither team could stretch or hold on to a lead for long. The Norse would shoot 50% from the floor in the first half, but the Blue Knights would erase a nine-point deficit. A 12-2 run by the visitors would by DCTC back in the lead with five minutes remaining in the first half. The two teams would trade the lead multiple times before the half ended, but the Norse would end up trailing 42-40 heading into the locker room at intermission.
The game remained close in the second half. The Norse would find themselves down by five in the early going, but would respond with a 10-0 run to retake the lead. Five points would be the largest lead by either team for over 16 minutes of the second half. Tied at 67 with just over five minutes to play, turnovers and a slight drop off in shooting percentage would haunt the home team. Bay College would go about three and a half minutes without hitting a field goal, and find themselves down four with a minute and a half to go. Dakota County would respond, and after the Norse would miss an opportunity and commit another key turnover, they would be forced to stop the clock and send the Blue Knights to the free throw line. DCTC would hit three of five free throws down the stretch to seal a nine-point victory
Bay College would turn the ball over 21 times in the matchup, while the Blue Knights would turn it over just nine times. The Norse would lead the rebounding battle 43-35, and would also hit 18 of their 23 free throw attempts. DCTC would hit 33 of their 75 field goal attempts, good for 44%. While Bay would shoot a better percentage overall (46.3%), they would only get 54 field goal attempts in the matchup.
"We had our chances and just didn't capitalize down the stretch," said Head Coach Matt Johnson. "We said going in that if we had a chance with 4 or 5 minutes to play, we would be right where we wanted to be and we were tied with 5 minutes to go. Hats off to DCTC for making plays down the stretch. It was a great battle between two good basketball teams, but we need to execute better down the stretch on both ends of the floor."
Bay's Tyler Willette (SO, Escanaba, MI) would lead all scorers with 26 points, while grabbing five rebounds. Ryan Robinette (FR, Escanaba, MI) added 15 points, while Alfonzo Fields (SO, Milwaukee, WI) and Marcus McKenney (SO, Menominee, MI) would score nine apiece.
Cody Sticha (SO, St. Paul, MN) led the Blue Knights with 22 points and seven rebounds. Jeremiah Coddon (SO, Woodbury, MN) added 17 points, five rebounds, six rebounds, and three steals. Termaine Daniels (SO, St. Paul, MN) scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and collected five steals and four assists. Dashawn Walker (FR, Harker Heights, TX) ended his game with 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Norse missed a chance to all but guarantee the Norse a chance to host postseason play. Coach Johnson spoke more about that situation. "It makes the post season scenario a little more cloudy. We could still host tournament games at our place, but we will have to wait until the remainder of the regional games are played. Whether it is at home or on the road, I know our guys would like another chance to play Dakota County."
The Norse will be at home on Tuesday evening. They will host Lake Superior State's JV team at 8 PM.