Men’s basketball falls to Hastings in season opener

The Baker University men’s basketball team started its season with a 61-54 loss to the Hastings College Mustangs Saturday.<br/>

It was the first game for new head coach Sean Dooley, who was previously an assistant coach at Columbia (Mo.) College. <br/>

Senior Jordan Honroe goes for a layup in the Baker University men’s basketball team’s season opener against Hastings College Saturday. Baker fell to the Broncos 61-54. Hannah Schaake

“We played hard, but there were some growing pains,” Dooley said.

Those growing pains came in the form of 29 turnovers and 35.7 percent shooting. Dooley believes, however, that his veteran team will bounce back.<br/>

“We’ve got an older team that should be able to adapt, but for one reason or another, there was a lack of focus,” Dooley said.

The Wildcats started strong, leading for the first seven minutes of the game, until Hastings went on a quick 5-0 run to take the lead. The Mustangs led by as many as six in the first half, but Baker pulled within one before Mustangs' guard Dane Bacon hit one of his four 3-pointers in the closing seconds of the half, giving Hastings a 27-23 halftime lead.<br/>

Baker held a one-point lead on two occasions early in the second half, but the Mustangs, led by guard Brady Lollman and his game-high 22 points, took control of the game on a 16-1 scoring run, including three consecutive 3-pointers. That left the Wildcats down by 14 points with 2:57 remaining in the game.<br/>

Still, the Wildcats did not relent, scoring nine consecutive points before ultimately falling to the Mustangs.

“I liked that we didn’t give up,” Dooley said. “We were able to force 29 turnovers, but we gave it right back.”

Ben Steinlage, last year’s leading scorer, along with fellow senior Samer Jassar, led the team in scoring with eight points, and newcomer EJ Carter led all Wildcats with seven rebounds.

A large rotation gave 12 players at least seven minutes of playing time, and all 12 scored.

“We want our depth to be one of our strengths, but we’d like to see guys separate themselves from the pack,” Dooley said.

The next chance for Baker to win its first game will be Tuesday, when the Wildcats take on Haskell Indian Nations University at Collins Center.