Norse Streak Past Kirtland; Mid-Michigan Up Next
Click the thumbnails to see photos and videos from the game, and to hear post-game comments from Genesis Kemp and Coach Matt Johnson. Also click the AUDIO button to hear Assistant Coach Mike Cretens' halftime interview.
GRAYLING---The Bay College Norse men's basketball team played their first game as the nation's 19th-ranked NJCAA-II team Wednesday night, and did nothing to spoil that new ranking.
The Norse rolled past Kirtland Community College, 91-42, in Grayling, stretching their record to 19-2 on the season.
“We wanted 15-plus assists, and we got 23,” Norse Coach Matt Johnson said. “We wanted ten turnovers or less, and we ended up with nine. We wanted to make more free throws than they shot, and we did that. We wanted to hold them under 50 (points), and we did that. They only one that we didn't get is that we wanted to outrebound them by 15.”
And the Norse didn't get that mostly because of the hard work of Kirland's Jassen Decoste, who had 16 rebounds to go with his 18 points for the Firebirds.
“He played a heck of a ballgame,” Johnson said. “We need to do a little bit better job on the glass. That was the only one of them (goals) that we didn't hit. But we were pretty good tonight, and we did it without our lead guard (Nic Williams, out with concussion). So, I'll take it, that's for sure."
The Norse scored ten of the first 13 points of the game, but the Firebirds hung around for a while, keeping it a 18-13 Norse lead six minutes into the game. But Bay, behind a big first half scoring from Genesis Kemp, finished on a 22-6 run to lead at the half, 40-19.
Kemp had 17 of Bay's 40 first half points and finished with a game-high 24 points and a team-high six rebounds.
“This game was really about just getting better on the things we were lacking, like getting back on transition and getting rebounds,” Kemp said. “Coach was telling us to focus more on that, not on scoring. Not saying they're a bad team, but we knew the outcome coming into this game, so he just wanted us to work on our witnesses.”
Ryan Sweeney had eleven points and ten assists for a double-double, and he added a game-high seven steals for the Norse. All twelve Bay players who suited up Wednesday night scored.
While the Bay-Kirtland game was cruising along, the Mid Michigan Lakers vs Muskegon Jayhawks game was unfolding downstate. The Lakers had a 13-point lead before the Jayhawks rallied to tie the game in the final minute. Mid Michigan pulled it out, 85-79, setting up another Battle Royale Saturday afternoon in Escanaba.
“They're a good team, we're a good team, we'll see what happens,” Kemp said. “Playing Mid Michigan man, I like playing teams that can match up with us well. It will be a fun game to play.”
“We did enough tonight, they did enough tonight, and now we've got to see who can take care of business on Saturday,” Johnson said.
Mid Michigan enters the game with a 5-1 MCCAA record (13-6 overall), one game behind the Norse (6-0, 19-2). The Norse won the conference championship last year with a dramatic win over the Lakers in the final game of the season in Escanaba.
“Our crowd won us that game,” Johnson said. “We would love to see every single Norse supporter out there on Saturday for both (men's and women's games).
Game time for the men's game on Saturday is set for 3:00 and it will be broadcast live on Maverick FM-106.3 and on-line through the AUDIO link at www.baynorse.com.