ESCANABA, MI - The Bay College Norse Men's Basketball Team (20-10) would see their season come to an end after falling to the Dakota County Technical College Blue Knights (23-5) by a final score of 90-71.
The Norse would come out of the gates strong, jumping out to a 12-3 lead in the first quarter. During that stretch Christian Alexander (FR, Dorset, UK) slammed a Blue Knight layup off the back board. The blocked shot would be picked up by the Norse and quickly converted into a big three-point basket by Alfonzo Fields (SO, Milwaukee, WI) igniting the home crowd. Moments later a thunderous dunk by Alexander would make it look as though Bay College would be in control of the matchup. Dakota County showed their resiliency however, and keep the game close. With ten minutes remaining in the first half, they pulled within two points of the home team. With time winding down the Blue Knights scored ten unanswered points to put themselves back in the lead since the opening minutes. Bay would trail 44-41 at the half.
The Blue Knights looked to take control of the game early in the second half and found themselves up by 11 points with just under 17 minutes to play. Bay would fight back and erase that deficit, finding themselves down by just one point four minutes later. DCTC refused to surrender the lead, and a 15-1 run by the visiting team would put Bay College down by double-digits with just over nine minutes to play. Dakota County would be in control from that point forward, as the home team would be stymied in every comeback attempt down the stretch. The Blue Knights ended up taking a 19-point victory on the road and advancing to the NJCAA Region XIII Final Game.
The Norse shot the ball reasonably well, hitting 45.5% of their shots and six of 15 from behind the three-point arc. Bay would hit on 15 of 20 from the free throw line and outrebound DCTC 41-31. Dakota County also shot the ball well, converting 42.6% of their shots and 16 of 36 three-point attempts. They went to the free throw line 17 times, only missing once. The big advantage for Dakota County, besides the 16 made three-pointers compared to Bay's six, was the turnover battle. The Norse would turn the ball over 17 times, while the Blue Knights had much better ball security, turning it over just eight times.
Sophomore Tyler Willette (Escanaba, MI) led all scorers with 19 points while grabbing 5 rebounds. Fields added 18 points and eight rebounds, while Ryan Robinette (FR, Escanaba, MI) would score 13 points, grab five rebounds, and collect three steals. Alexander finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks.
Six Blue Knights ended their game in double-digits scoring. Jeremiah Coddon (SO, Woodbury, MN) led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds. Amitri Collins-Westlund (FR, St. Paul, MN) added 16 points and four rebounds off the bench, while Dashawn Walker (FR, Harker Heights, TX) finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Keith Durham (SO, Woodbury, MN) scored 11 points, while Termaine Daniels (SO, St. Paul, MN) and Cody Sticha (SO, St. Paul, MN) would both add ten points.
Dakota County now holds the right to host the Region XIII Final Game on Sunday afternoon. They will meet up with United Tribes Technical College (17-14) at 2 pm in Inver Hills, MN.
The Bay Norse end their season with a total of twenty wins and ten losses.