Norse Erase Big Deficit, Fall Late

Tristan Masuga looking to pass from the top of the key
Tristan Masuga looking to pass from the top of the key

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Bay College Men's Basketball Team (0-1) fell behind early, but fought their way back only to lose in heartbreaking fashion.  The Grand Rapids Community College Raiders (1-0) grabbed a late lead and held on for a 70-68 victory at home on Friday night.

It looked like it was going to be all Raiders in the early going.  They would start the game with seven unanswered points, putting their guests in a hole.  The Norse offense was stagnant in the early going while Grand Rapids seemed to do as they pleased.  With 7:08 left in the first half Head Coach Matt Johnson would take a time out, with his team trailing 35-15.

The timeout would prove to be effective as the Norse would come out on an 11-0 run, putting themselves back in the fight.  Chris Dobessi (FR, Detroit, MI) would beat the halftime buzzer with a three-pointer to send the teams to the locker room with the score at 40-31 in favor of the Raiders.

Bay College would continue their comeback effort in the second half.  Tristan Masuga (FR, Cedarville, MI) would hit a three and a two-point jumper on consecutive possessions, cutting the lead to four.  With just under 15 minutes remaining in the game, Khalid Fleming (FR, Detroit, MI) scored, putting Bay College in the lead for the first time in the matchup. 

The Norse would hold their biggest lead of eight with just over nine minutes to go, but would not be able to pull away any further.  Grand Rapids CC would stick around, slowly cutting into the deficit.  Bay would be clinging to a one-point lead with 1:28 on the clock when Christian Alexander (SO, Dorset, UK) would finish strong, and get fouled, completing the three-point play and giving the Norse a two-possession lead.  The Raiders would respond however, as Johnny Davis (SO, Detroit, MI) would finish underneath, drawing a foul of his own.  The foul proved costly to the Norse, as it turned out to be Alexander's fifth, sending him to the bench for the rest of the game.  Davis connected on his free throw to make it a one-point game once again. 

The two teams would trade possessions, but it would be a crucial turnover that would turn the tide.  A foul would send David Hearns (SO, Hazel Park, MI) to the line, and he would hit both shots to take the lead.  Bay College would get one more chance to tie or take the lead, but could not convert, allowing Grand Rapids Community College to seal the two-point win at home.

"I was really happy with the way that we fought back after digging ourselves into a hole early," said Head Coach Matt Johnson.  "The kids played hard and gave ourselves a chance to pick up a 'W' on the road against a very good team.  It's a great learning opportunity for us, we need to figure out how to execute down the stretch and win tough games against teams at this level.  As tough as it is to lose one like this, I am really excited to see how our guys respond tomorrow against Kellogg."

Herman Brown (FR, Detroit, MI) led all scorers with 15 points and ten rebounds.  Davis would be responsible for 14 points and nine rebounds, while Hearns added 12 points, five rebounds, and four steals. 

For the Norse, Masuga would earn his first double-double of his college career, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds.  Alexander added 14 points and nine rebounds.  Bay would get 12 points, eight rebounds, and five assists from Ryan Robinette (FR, Escanaba, MI), while Xaviel Fields added ten points.

Bay College will look to rebound on Saturday afternoon as they take on Kellogg Community College.  That game is scheduled to start at 3 pm.