The Baker Orange

Men’s basketball drops season opener

Story by Chad Mullens

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The Baker University men’s basketball team lost its season-opening game to Hastings College 89-77 on Friday.

Hastings led by as many as 25 points in the game, shooting 31-53 from the field and 21-29 at the free-throw line.

The Wildcats’ defense was unable to stop Hastings center Dylan Flynn, who best exhibited the Broncos’ efficiency by shooting 10-11 from the field and 5-6 at the line. He also added seven rebounds and three assists. Flynn’s success was indicative of the entire Hastings team, as the Broncos recorded a 58.5 shooting percent. In addition, the Broncos outscored the Wildcats 46-28 in the paint.

The Wildcats struggled offensively, as the Broncos forced 21 turnovers, stealing the ball 12 times and scoring 22 points off of those turnovers. BU also shot 37.5 percent from the field. Ball movement by the Wildcats was limited, with Baker assisting on only eight of its 24 field goals.

The game stayed close for the first four minutes, but then the Broncos pulled away, using a 14-7 run to gain a double-digit advantage. With 11:11 in the first half, BU trailed 26-15. Baker was not able to bring the game to within 10 points until there were less than two minutes left in the game.

The Wildcats used their speed to pick up fouls, getting to the free-throw line 41 times. However, BU missed 18 attempts, a 56.1 percent conversion rate.

The top performers for Baker included junior transfer student Connor McDaniel, who shot 5-7 from the field and 2-3 from the 3-point line. He led the team in scoring with 17 points in his Baker debut. Junior EJ Carter added 16 points and led the team in rebounding with 10. The game was the first in a Baker uniform for eight players, who combined for 53 of the team’s 77 points.

The 0-1 Wildcats next will take on the University of Saint Mary Spires, who also lost their season-opening game on Saturday to Oklahoma Wesleyan University.