Bay men give fits to Finlandia

By Paul Peterson

For the Gazette

HOUGHTON — It was a game that was scheduled to begin at Paavo Nurmi Nurmi Gym at 3 p.m. Saturday, but ended up at the Michigan Tech Student Development Complex. 

The Bay College and Finlandia men’s basketball teams ended up meeting three hours later at the SDC Wood Gym after electrical problems caused scoreboard problems.

The visiting Norse ended up adjusting to the courts better and notched a 96-76 victory.

Beaten by the Lions by a 97-77 score last month in Escanaba, Bay College had the upper hand nearly the whole way.

“They (Norse) just adjusted a little better than we did,” Finlandia coach Mike O’Donnell said. “We didn’t shoot it the way we did the last time, and they just executed better than we did tonight.”

The Lions made 17 three-pointers in the first game between the two teams but could manage only 7 of 24 while firing from 3-point distance in this game.

BC coach Matt Johnson said his team was focused.

“Anytime you change courts like we did today, it’s going to be a factor,” Johnson said. “But it probably affected Finlandia a little bit more because they lost their homecourt edge. But kids are resilient and they adjusted.”

Two players made the major difference for the winners: Dre Tuominen and Kobi Barnes. Tuominen accounted for a game-high 27 points, while the 6-foot-10 Barnes put in 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

“Dre Tuominen made some big baskets when it counted,” Johnson said. “But I thought Kobi Barnes was the difference-maker. We went to him early and that kind of set the pace. Going to the post really opened up things for our perimeter kids.”

Sparked by Geoff Smart, Myles Ellington and Brandon Robinette, Finlandia stayed close in the first half, down by a 39-35 margin.

The Norse maintained a slim lead in the second half, although the Lions stuck around.

Baskets by Ellington twice brought the Lions to within four points — the last time at 76-72 with just over five minutes left to go.

But Tuominen, who tallied 22 of his 27 points in the second half — helped close out the game with five quick points.

The Lions, now 4-14 on the season, were led by Smart and Ellington with 16 points apiece. The hustling Robinette put in 15 more points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

Alfonzo Fields added 17 points for the 14-7 Norse, while Tyler Willette netted 10 points.

O’Donnell said his team must tighten down on defense.

“We kept making runs. But then we would allow them to score a few,” he said. “We need to defend better. Every night we’re giving up 80, 90-plus points, and that won’t get it done.”

Finlandia will travel to St. Scholastica on Wednesday.

The Norse are scheduled to play at UW-Marinette Wednesday.

Bay College 39 57 — 96

Finlandia 35 41 — 76

Bay College — Fields 17, Tuominen 27, Willette 10, McKenney 7, Barnes 20, Nichols 2, Finkbeiner 8, Richmond 5. FT: 22-25. F: 15; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Fields, Tuominen 3, Finkbeiner 2.

Finlandia — Johnston 9, Smart 16, Ellington 16, Robinette 15, Carlson 5, Robinson 5, Wilson 4, Browner 2, Beal 2, Garrett 2. FT: 9-13; F: 21; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Johnston, Smart 4, Ellington, Robinette.