HANCOCK, MI - The Bay College Men's Basketball Team (20-9) would rally from a large second half deficit to overcome the Finlandia Lions (0-21) by a final score of 95-92 in overtime on Monday evening.
The Finlandia Lions were staring down the barrel of a winless season as they entered Monday's season finale, and seemed determined to end their season on a high note. They would shoot the ball well from the outside in the early going, hitting six of 13 three-point attempts and shooting 46.4% overall in the first half. The Norse would hit just three of their 16 attempts from behind the arc, and find themselves trailing 37-29 heading into the halftime break.
Finlandia came out of the locker room looking to put the game away in the second half. A 20-5 run for the host team would give them a commanding 23-point lead with 14 minutes remaining in the game. The host team would slow down offensively from that point, which would allow the Norse to slowly chip away at the lead. Ryan Robinette (FR, Escanaba, MI) would hit a three-point basket with just over three minutes to play to pull the visitors to within five, which would set up a dramatic last few minutes of regulation. As Finlandia would respond, it would be Kobi Barnes (SO, Milwaukee, WI) who would get a basket to make the score 80-75 in favor of the Lions. A steal and layup by Alfonzo Fields on the ensuing possession would make it a one possession game.
With time winding down, and Bay still trailing by two, the Norse would get a chance to tie the game. With 16 seconds showing on the clock, a controversial offensive foul was called on the visitors, forcing Bay College to foul to stop the clock. Finlandia would miss out on a chance to seal the game, and miss both free throws, giving the Norse one more chance to tie or take the lead. With 2.7 seconds remaining, Fields would take the ball into the lane, spin towards the middle, and knock down a shot as time expired to force overtime.
In the extra frame the Norse would grab the lead and never look back. Fields would get the scoring started with two free throws, then Tyler Willette (SO, Escanaba, MI) would get fouled as he finished a shot at the rim. Willette would convert his free throw, to give the road team a five point lead. Bay would go to the free throw line nine times in overtime, converting six of those attempts, which would be enough to hold on to the three-point comeback victory.
While Finlandia would shoot 43.9% for the game and 11 of 23 from three-point, they would turn the ball over 28 times in the contest. They would also leave points on the free throw line, missing nine of their 32 attempts. The Lions would win the rebounding battle 56-39. Bay would shoot 42.2%, but only convert five of their 26 free throw attempts. They would also struggle at the free throw line, hitting twenty of 32 attempts. Ball security would pay off for the Norse, they would turn the ball over just 13 times, and end up with 17 more field goal attempts then their opponent in the game.
Fields would wind up as the leading scorer for the game, putting up 27 points while grabbing eight rebounds and collecting four steals. Willette would end his night with 21 points and three steals, while Barnes would score 19 points, grab four rebounds, block four shots, and collect three steals. Logan Hardwick (FR, Rapid River, MI) added nine points and nine rebounds, while Robinette would finish with nine points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
The Norse wrap up their regular season play with twenty wins and nine losses. They will begin postseason play on Wednesday, February 27 when they play host to the winner of Saturday's Gogebic Community College at Dakota County Technical College play-in game. The game hosted by the Norse will begin at 8 pm.