WINDY CITY WIN: Norse Grind Past Daley College
CHICAGO---The Bay College men's basketball team got several clutch baskets down the stretch Friday night and escaped with a 72-66 win over the Daley College Bulldogs in downtown Chicago. The Norse scored nine straight points to break a 59-59 tie and held off another Bulldog challenge.
The result came after the Norse won a coin toss to determine top seed in the NJCAA Region 13 playoffs, meaning a first round bye and regional semifinal home game.
The Norse team bus got caught in massive traffic congestion in making the 14-mile drive to the Daley College campus, taking well over an hour to get there, and arriving only five minutes before the scheduled tip off.
The Norse were given an extra 12 minutes to warm up, and they got off to a strong start, racing out to a 23-12 lead after two slam dunks by Christian Alexander and back-to-back triples by Marcus Harris and Ryan Robinette. Alexander got his third dunk of the half and Dondre Yohe converted an "and-one" basket, giving Bay a 32-17 lead.
The Budllogs, however, an athletic team that plays a tough NJCAA Division One schedule, closed to within seven points late in the half as Amiri Young hit from just about everywhere on the court, including three triples, and 15 total first half points.
But a nice pass from Chris Dobessi led to a Harris three at the first half buzzer, giving the Norse a 43-31 lead going into the locker room. Despite the lead, Norse Coach Matt Johnson was unhappy with his team's play, especially its 17 turnovers.
It didn't get any better in the second half, as the Norse guards continued to struggle and the Bulldogs erased the 12-point deficit to get back in the game. When Alexander went to the bench with his third foul, the Bulldogs took advantage, going on a run that gave them their only lead of the game at 55-53 with 7:08 left on the clock.
With the game tied at 59-59, the Norse went on an 8-0 run, with Alexander doing most of the damage. He broke the tie with a pair of free throws, then after blocking a shot at the other end, Alexander's put-back of a Harris missed triple made it 63-59.
Then after the Bulldogs missed a short jumper at the other end, Dondre Yohe bounced it to Wagner on the baseline. Wagner was surrounded by two bigger players, but he powered it up and in, and drew the "and one" foul. His free throw made it 66-59.
Daley College (12-15 overall) had two straight possessions that ended with attacking baskets by Jalen Frizzell and Ronique Spencer, bringing the home team to within 68-64 in the final minute. But Dobessi took one to the rack for a big basket with 40.6 seconds left in the game to make it 70-64, effectively ending the contest.
Alexander had a monster game, scoring 20 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in 32 minutes of play. He made eight of ten shots from the floor and sank all four of his free throw attempts. Wagner finished with 17 poiints, going for 7-for-7 at the line.
In fact, Bay College made all 17 of the free throw attempts it took. The Norse outrebounded the Bulldogs, 50-36, with the only down side being 30 turnovers.
Young led the Bulldogs with 27 points and Frizzell added 18 points and nine boards.
Bay College improved to 18-9 on the season and the Norse will close the regular season on Saturday against Truman College in north Chicago. Game time is 4:00 ET.
It will be broadcast live on Maverick 106.3 FM and at www.radioresultsnetwork.com.
Then, thanks to winning a coin toss for a second straight year, the Norse will be off until Feb. 26 when they host either Dakota County Technical College or Gogebic Community College in the playoffs. Those two teams will face off on Feb. 22 in Minneapolis.
Click the thumbnails in the ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS box above to see photos and videos, and hear post-game comments from Alexander and Coach Matt Johnson. Also hear the player spotlight interview with Cade Contreras.