Late free throws down Baker men

Story by Jenna

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The Baker men fell short in a tight one to the Graceland Yellow Jackets, 69-65, Saturday afternoon in the Collins Center.

The previous matchup between the two teams resulted in an overtime win by Baker. This meeting fell in Graceland’s favor, yet the win did not come without a struggle

Sophomore CJ Bolton started things off for the Wildcats by answering Graceland’s first possession 3-pointer with a deep three for himself to tie it up. The Wildcats remained within striking distance throughout the first half until Graceland put on a run that resulted in a 12-point BU deficit. That was until freshman Clae Martin cut Graceland’s lead in half by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers right before halftime to make it 37-31 Graceland.

Martin had the hot hand in the first half and went 3-4 from 3-point range. He was then quieted in the second half and held scoreless.

“In the second half they decided to leave a defender on me and try to limit my shot opportunities,” Martin said.

However, junior Javeion Gray turned things around for the better. Gray entered the locker room at halftime with a mere two points, yet finished the game with 19 points.

“I tried to do everything I could do for us to win,” Gray said.

Gray was relentless on offense as he was a threat off the dribble and from the perimeter. He made all five of his free throws and shot 60 percent from the field.

Baker came close to taking the lead in the final minutes, but Graceland’s hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

The Wildcats have been looking to get more free-throw attempts and out-rebound opponents, according to junior Taylor Johnson. However, the Wildcats shot 12 fewer free throws than Graceland and were out-rebounded 36-27.

“Unfortunately that’s what hurt us, but we’re going to come back on Monday and have a good week of practice and hopefully put together two wins next week,” Johnson said.

As the Baker men’s record adjusts to 11-12 overall and 7-9 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, they will look to get back on track against Central Methodist University at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night in the Collins Center. The Wildcats sit in a three-way tie for sixth in the standings.