Lions hold off Samsons in exhibition play, 77-62
HANCOCK — It was just an exhibition game, but Finlandia Lions men’s basketball coach Mike O’Donnell liked what he saw.
“We’re a very young team, still trying to find out some things,” O’Donnell said after his team’s 77-62 victory over Gogebic Community College Tuesday night. “But I thought we played decently tonight.”
The Finlandia skipper was especially pleased with the play of junior guard Dylan Underwood and freshman forward Jaden Janke.
Underwood came up with a game-leading 20 points and handed out six assists. He came up with several big plays down the stretch when the Samsons were trying to rally back.
“Dylan made some big plays late in the contest, he gave us some stability at guard,” O’Donnell said.
Janke, the former Dollar Bay High standout, pitched in 15 points and also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in his collegiate debut.
“Jaden played well,” O’Donnell noted. “He’s on his way …. and I think he’s going to develop. We saw flashes tonight of what he can do.”
Janke had an impressive burst towards the end of the first half when he helped the Lions expand a shaky six-point lead into at 13-point advantage.
He hit a pair of buckets and added two free throws as Finlandia grabbed a 39-26 halftime lead.
Fellow freshman Joe Heinonen added a hoop and two free tosses in the 12-4 run.
The Lions built up the lead in the second half until coach Dennis Mackey’s Samsons rallied to within four points at 61-57 with four minutes left.
But a pair of steals by Underwood and two ensuing layups put it out of reach for good.
Tyler Browner and Finnish transfer student Kevin Straih divided 22 points evenly to back up Underwood and Janke. Straih also had five assists in a steady showing.
Senior center Austin Carlson was good for seven points and six rebounds in batting 6-7 center Steven Nelson. Nelson blocked three shots and nabbed a game-high 11 boards.
Samuel Williams Jr. led GGC with 16 points, while ex-Ontonagon product Mitchell Borseth tossed in 10 markers.
Finlandia travels to UW-Superior later this week for a tournament that includes a game versus UW-Stout.
GOGEBIC — Thomas 3, Borseth 10, Williams Jr. 16, Dachau 3, Nelson 8, Nuradean 6, Suzik 6, Sinal 7, Janczak 2, FG: 19-64; FT: 15-19; Rebounds: 43 (Nelson 11); 3-point baskets: Borseth 2, Nuradean 2, Williams 2, Nelson 1, Dachau 1.
FINLANDIA — Underwood 20, Oom 3, Browner 11, Carlson 7, Straih 11, Janke 15, Heinonen 7, Shumate 3. FG: 27-63; FT: 11-15l Rebounds: 41 (Janke 7); 3-point baskets: Browner 3, Janke 2, Underwood 2, Straih 2, Shumate 1, Heinonen 1,Oom 1.
Halftime score: FU 39, GCC 26.