Yoopers shine at NMU-Bay College basketball game

MARQUETTE — Yesterday, the Northern Michigan men’s basketball team defeated Bay College 107–68, following an impressive win over St. Norbert College on Saturday. But even with a blowout win, head coach Bill Sall still feels like his team could have played better.

“Our execution on the offensive end was less than good right. And we’re still trying to learn the vanilla aspects of our defense. For two games in, I feel good. These were two really good opportunities from an exhibition standpoint to play two teams that gave us different looks and we were able to get a lot of guys some playing time which was nice as well,” Sall said.

The Wildcats were paced by freshman Dolapo Olayinka who put on a show for the crowd at the Berry Events Center.

“It was pretty fun. It was a good game. We just tried to play fast-paced and I just happened to get the outlet and just put on a show for the fans,” said Olayinka.

It was also a big day for two freshman Yoopers on the team: North Central’s Marcus Krachinski and Iron Mountain’s Carson Wonders.

“It’s a completely different game. It’s a whole new level and I’ve been trying to work and keep my game going and get to that next level to play competitively with these guys that are out here,” said Wonders.

On the other side, the Norse played their first game as a program in almost 40 years and the experience was very important to this young team.

“All in all, I am as happy as I can be with a game that ends up with a score like it did. I think we got some really good things out of it, and I think we figured out some things that clearly we have to work on,” head coach Matt Johnson said.

“It was pretty cool. Growing up, that’s where you want to play. Growing up in the U.P., college basketball is at Northern. They’re right in our backyard. To get a chance to play against them in my first college basketball game ever, it’s pretty cool and a good experience,” Escanaba-native Tyler Willette said.

“When you jump from high school to college, it’s a big difference and finally being able to learn what that’s like was something that I wanted to know. Being able to do it, I can really elevate my game. I suppose we all can take away what we did wrong from it. It’s just good playing against great competition and guys that can play multiple positions,” said Negaunee-native Dre Tuominen.

Coach Johnson added that the goal now is not let the players dwell on their first loss of the season. Next up for NMU is the GLIAC/GLVC Challenge that begins on November 11th and will be hosted by Michigan Tech. And for the Norse, the men’s and women’s teams will host their season openers this Wednesday against the University of Wisconsin–Parkside, beginning at 6 o’clock.