Bay College Men Coast Past Grand Rapids, 88-78
Click the thumbnails to see photos and videos from the game, and to hear post-game comments from Genesis Kemp and Norse Coach Matt Johnson.
ESCANABA---The Bay College Norse men's basketball team had leads as big as 21 points and coasted to a 88-78 win over the Grand Rapids Community College Raiders Monday night in Escanaba. It was Bay's 17th straight MCCAA North Conference win going back to last season, and improved this year's record to 3-0 (16-2 overall).
Ryan Sweeney led the Norse in scoring with 22 points.
Baril Mawo had 19 points and ten rebounds for a double-double, and Genesis Kemp, who usually comes off the bench but started because two players showed up late for practice Monday morning, had 19 points and eight boards.
"It's a win, we're 3-0 in the league, so I think it's a good one," Norse Coach Matt Johnson said. "I think we could have played better. We did some really good stuff, and we had some guys step up. We were good. I think these guys (GRCC) are good. It was a battle. It was a good team win, and we'll take it. It might not have been the prettiest. We definitely do a better job, I thin, especially defensively. But, all in all, good win."
The Norse jumped to an 18-7 lead after a Mawo steal lead to a Kemp "and-one" basket eight minutes into the game. But GRCC's Jack Agema came off the bench to nail three triples, the third of which gave the Raiders a 25-23 lead with 8:11 left in the half, completing a 16-7 run.
But Bay turned things around behind a Sweeney triple and a bunch of free throws, regaining the eleven-point lead to take a 45-34 lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, the Norse stretched the lead to 20 pounts at 65-45 after back-to-back triples by Kemp and by Nic Williams. Williams had three straight triples in the second half to finish with 13 points after having no baskets and a pair of free throws in the first half.
The Norse went into a bit of an offensive lull in the middle part of the second half, and GRCC's Javonte Jones got to the foul line six times, making all six. He scored 14 of his team-high 19 points in the second half, and Spencer Willman and Joe Francis came off the bench to give the Raiders a boost, scoring a combined 20 points.
GRCC's bench outscored Bay's bench, 42-8, in the contest and the Raiders closed the 22-point (72-50) deficit in half (82-71) late.
But the Norse had plenty of firepower to close out the game, and they made their free throws when the Raiders went to "Hack-a-Shaq" in the final 2:31. In all, Bay, which has struggled at the foul line recently, did well this time, making 27-of-35 (77 percent).
Jones led the Raiders (8-10 overall, 0-3 MCCAA) with 19 points. Francis added 13 points and Tristan McRoberts chipped in eleven points.
Bay, ranked No. 21 in the NJCAA Division Two national poll, improved to 16-2 on the season and 3-0 in conference play.
The Norse continue the three-game homestand this Wednesday night against the Alpena Community College Lumberjacks (4-8 overall, 2-0 MCCAA) in a battle of the only two undefeated teams in the North Conference. Game time is 7:30 and it will be broadcast live on FM-106.3 and on-line at www.baynorse.com.