Men roll Avila 85-73


Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

The Wildcat men snapped a six-game losing streak to Avila with an 85-73 victory against the Eagles on Wednesday night in the Collins Center. Sophomores Brock Mick and Nate Guscott both had career nights to push the men to 10-10 overall and 6-7 in conference play.

Guscott led the Wildcats with his career high 19 points on 10-11 from the free-throw line. Guscott also dished out three assists and grabbed four rebounds. Meanwhile, Mick knocked down three trifectas and hit 5-6 from the free-throw line.

For the second consecutive game the Wildcats shot their 3-pointers at a remarkable rate. Coming into the game, Baker was connecting on 43 percent of its threes. In their past two games the Wildcats have hit 26-48 trifectas, for an outstanding 54 percent from deep.

The Avila Eagles, 14-7, 7-6, play with high intensity and are led by two-time All-American, and probably the Heart of America Athletic Conference’s best player, senior Sedrick Johnson. In Avila’s last game Johnson scored 36 points on 3-4 from three and 13-14 from the line. Johnson also dished out 11 assists, grabbed six rebounds, stole 8 passes and had zero turnovers. All of that led to Avila taking down the conference’s best team, William Penn 89-74.

The Wildcats controlled the tempo and slowed down the Eagles in the first half. It also helped that Baker hit 8-13 on 3-pointers in the first half. It wasn’t as good as the 9-11 start from deep against MNU on Saturday but not many things come close to that.

Another key to the first half, and the game, was that the Wildcats didn’t let the Avila full court pressure affect them. Baker turned the ball over five times per half. Baker also had Avila’s center Nduka Ezeamii in foul trouble from the minute he stepped onto the floor. At the break Baker led 42-38.

In the second half the Eagles started hot and tied the game 47-47 with 16:30 to play. But the Wildcats responded better than they have all season and rattled off a 17-4 run to take a commanding 67-51 lead with 7:19 to go. Avila cut the lead to single digits on several occasions but the Wildcats were not rattled and hit their free throws.

Baker’s dominant 3-point shooting at 13-25 was the dagger in every big moment. Every chance Avila had to get back into the game, Baker would answer with a trifecta.

Baker also shot its free throws better than it had the entire second semester. After shooting 53 percent in a two-point loss on Saturday, Baker connected on 84 percent of its free throws for the game, going 20-21 in the second half.

In addition to Guscott and Mick, freshman Clae Martin scored 14 points, going 4-5 from deep. Junior Taylor Johnson scored 12 points and senior Nick Wilson knocked down a 3-pointer in the closing minutes, giving him 11 points.

More importantly the Wildcats slowed Avila’s Johnson, who scored 26 points but turned the ball over four times. Avila as a team had 13 turnovers.

The Wildcats try to get to .500 in the conference at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Missouri Valley. The Wildcats dropped the first game to the Vikings 69-66 in Baldwin City.