ESCANABA, MI – After trailing at halftime, the Bay College Norse Men's Basketball Team (13-6) opened up a big lead to cruise to victory over the Gogebic Community College Samsons (4-13) on Wednesday night by a final of 83-58.
Bay benefited from a red hot Matt Wagner (FR, Marinette, WI) to open the game. The Norse opened the game on a 17-2 run as Wagner would hit five three-point attempts in the opening minutes. The Samsons answered back, using a 15-2 run of their own to close the gap. Bay held a seven-point lead with just over six minutes remaining in the half, but the offense faltered from there. They would get just one more three-pointer from Wagner, and a free throw, allowing Gogebic to grab a 34-28 lead at the half.
Offense was hardly an issue for the Norse in the second half. Bay shot 46.3% from the floor and hit six of 15 three-point attempts after intermission. By the ten-minute mark, the Norse built a double-digit lead and showed no signs of slowing down. The home team created 15 Samson turnovers and outrebounded their guests 24-15 in the second half. Gogebic was outscored 55-24 in the second half, allowing Bay College to cruise to a 25-point victory.
The Norse shot 41.4% from the game and 42.9% from behind the three-point arc. They ended up winning the rebounding battle, 42-36, and created 23 total turnovers for Gogebic, while only turning it over 15 times themselves, despite Gogebic having the advantage in field goal percentage, turnovers, and rebounds at the half. The Samsons wound up shooting 33.3% from the floor, and only connected on nine of 32 three-point attempts.
The win puts Bay in control of their own postseason positioning, as they have now beaten both of Eastern Region 13 opponents once. Bay still has to face both opponents a second time, with the rematch against Gogebic coming on February 12 in Ironwood.
Wagner dialing it in from long distance helped him pace all scorers. He ended hitting seven of 13 from three-point and 25 points to go with four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Chris Dobessi (FR, Detroit, MI) tallied 18 points, three rebounds, and three assists, while Khalid Fleming (FR, Detroit, MI) added 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Christian Alexander (SO, Dorset, UK) brought down 11 rebounds.
The Samsons were led by Dachau Lyle (SO, Milwaukee, WI) who finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Raquentez Woodley (FR, Milwaukee, WI) scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds, had three steals, and two assists.
Bay College returns to action Saturday afternoon. It will be a rematch with the other team in the eastern sub-region, Dakota County Technical College. The Norse beat the Blue Knights on the road on January 8 by a final of 80-76. Saturday's rematch is scheduled for a 3 pm tip-off.