Nipped by the Norse

’Jacks go cold in home opening loss to Bay College

News Photo Jonny Zawacki Alpena's Jameson Pierrelus (5) takes a shot over Bay College defender Marcus McKenney (23) during the first half of a men's basketball game on Wednesday night at Park Arena.

Wednesday night’s home opener at Park Arena didn’t go as planned for the Alpena Community College men’s basketball team.

Unlike the first four games for the Lumberjacks, the team started off hot, but went cold and just could not get into an offensive rhythm as Alpena fell to Bay College in a low scoring affair, 60-52.

“It was an interesting game. I told my guys before the game if we hold them to under 72 points, we’ll win the game and I never thought if we held them to 60 that we’d lose,” ACC head coach Mark Jacobs said. “We are a very good shooting team, but as the old saying goes, ‘You live by the three and die by the three’, we died by the three tonight. Our free throw shooting wasn’t up to par tonight either and it’s just little things. We’re not a bad team and we’re not giving up on ourselves. We just have to do the little things in order to be successful.”

The Lumberjacks came out firing to open the game and got an early boost from Jameson Pierrelus who scored nine points in the first five minutes of the game by hitting three shots from beyond the long line. Alpena was near perfect from the field in the first seven minutes of the game as it held a 16-8 lead, but things went south for the Lumberjacks in a hurry.

Bay College tightened up defensively and took advantage of some Lumberjack turnovers and went on a 20-3 run to take a 28-19 lead late in the half. The run lasted nearly 11 minutes as Alpena was held scoreless for over seven minutes and the Norse took a 28-20 lead heading into the break.

“I just kept telling our guys to do the simple things. We need to talk, communicate on the floor and box out. They did a good job containing our top scorers and usually we can find someone else that heats up, but tonight we just couldn’t find it,” Jacobs said.

Alpena was unable to regroup at halftime and remained cold as the Norse scored the first six points of the second half to force the Lumberjacks to use a timeout as they trailed 34-20.

Bay College held onto a double-digit lead for much of the half, but the Lumberjacks did everything they could to try and chip away at the lead and eventually cut the deficit to nine with 5:07 to play.

Just when it looked like Alpena was going to make a late run, the Norse scored the next six points to take a 55-40 lead with 2:30 left in the game.

The Lumberjacks didn’t quit as Michael Stuart caught fire from behind the three point line and buried three triples to cut the lead back to single digits, but it was too late as Bay College capitalized on free throw opportunities late to put the game away.

“I’m thankful we get to play them again because I believe we are a better team. I’m disappointed more for the guys, but again players get the wins and coaches get the losses and this loss is on me. We need to be better prepared and we’ll work hard in practice the next two days and get ready for Mid Michigan,” Jacobs said.

Stuart led the Lumberjacks with a game-high 21 points and Pierrelus added 12 points.

Tyler Willette and Kobi Lumsden-Barnes led Bay with 13 points apiece.

Alpena falls to 1-5 on the year and will be back in action on Saturday when it hosts Mid Michigan Community College

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BAY COLLEGE (60): A. Fields 5 2-3 12; D. Ellis 1 0-0 2; D. Tuominen 1 3-4 8; T. Willette 5 3-4 13; M. McKenney 2 0-0 4; K. Lumsden-Barnes 6 1-3 13; J. Briggs 1 0-0 2.

ACC (52): E. Harris 0 3-4 3; M. Stuart 7 3-5 21; J. Pierrelus 4 1-3 12; O. Rice 1 0-0 3; A. Bell 2 0-0 5; D. Tucker 1 0-1 2; K. Brewer 2 1-2 6; T. Smith 0 0-2 0.