Men’s basketball prepared for conference


Story by Antonio Adgers, Writer

The Baker University men’s basketball team is set for its first weekend of conference play against rival MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers on Dec. 4 and at home against the Central Methodist University Eagles on Dec. 6.

Last season, the Wildcats split the season series with both teams. Baker won its first game of the conference last year against MNU in a 90-85 thriller in Collins Center but was blown out in Olathe in an 80-58 loss. The Wildcats also captured an early season road-win against Central Methodist 64-60 but fell in the second meeting, 76-68. This will be a redemption game for the Wildcats and senior guard EJ Carter.

“They had our number last time, but we’re a different team now,” Carter said. “We have a different attitude and I think we’re ready for them this time.”

The Baker men are looking to redeem themselves in conference play this season as they went 5-13 in the HAAC last year, including a 1-12 stretch in the middle of the schedule.

This year, Carter says that the team has been more focused than ever and conference action has been the main focus for them.

“We’ve been pretty inconsistent,” head coach Sean Dooley said. “We just need to continue to improve individually and collectively as we are about to begin this conference race.”

The Wildcats are going into the MNU game coming off of two wins against McPherson and Ottawa.

During the McPherson game, the ‘Cats came out with a 74-67 win over the Bulldogs. Freshman guard Gregg Easter led the Wildcats in scoring with 17. Easter was well above his season average of 8.1 points per game. Sophomore guard Javeion Gray contributed 10 points of his own as the Baker men pushed their record to 4-3. Gray also had a team high 4 assists and 4 rebounds.

Against Ottawa, the Wildcats squeaked by the Braves with a 68-66 win. Senior guard Jared Fulks led the ‘Cats in scoring with 13. Fulks has been hot from beyond the arc, shooting 44 percent from three-point territory. Carter, Gray and junior forward Manuel Barnes all followed up with 12, 11 and 10 points respectively in efforts to improve the Wildcats’ record to 5-3 for the year.

These two victories give the ‘Cats their first back-to-back wins this season. Last season they won back-to-back games only four times.

“We have not been able to put two good games together in a row, so this was the first time we did that,” Dooley said. “We’re still a relatively young group, but we’ve just got to continue to grow.”

After those back-to-back wins, the Wildcats are excited about facing their rivals in the team’s first game of conference play this season.

“It’s going to be an exciting game to watch,” Fulks said. “There will be no backing down in this one. No trash talking or anything like that. We’re just coming to play and we’re not backing down.”

After the two games this week the Wildcats play one more conference game before winter break. They will play the Graceland University Yellow Jackets Dec. 13 in Lamoni, Iowa.