The Baker Orange

Men suffer overtime loss to CMU

Story by Chad Mullens, Writer

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It was a tale of two halves, plus an extra five minutes, for the men’s basketball team on Wednesday night in the Collins Center. After coming back from down 18 in the first half to force overtime against Central Methodist University, BU ultimately fell short in an 83-82 loss to drop the Wildcats down to ninth place at 7-10 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference and 11-13 overall.

The Wildcats held the lead for 30 seconds early in the first half, but the rest of the 19:30 belonged to the Eagles, as they shot 62 percent from the floor en route to a 40-31 halftime lead.

“I thought our energy and effort was poor, especially on the defensive end,” head coach Sean Dooley said. “We struggled to score there, too, but we were getting good looks, shots that we make at other times that we just couldn’t make early.”

Most notably, junior and leading scorer Javeion Gray was held scoreless in an ugly first half for the Wildcats but bounced back to reach double digits in the final 25 minutes of game action with 12 points. He was one of four Wildcats in double figures, including freshman Clae Martin’s team-leading 15, senior Nick Wilson’s 11 and sophomore Dan Young coming off the bench with 12 points.

“They did a good job of denying his penetration, but we moved a lot better without the ball in the second half, which freed him up and allowed him to get to the rim.” Dooley said.

Gray’s production spearheaded a comeback for the Wildcats, which put them within one possession of tying or winning the game.

“We didn’t make a lot of threes like we had in the past few home games, but I think we drove to the basket pretty well,” Dooley said. “Overall, we played harder and tougher in the second half.”

With 12 seconds remaining in regulation, CMU was called for a five-second inbounding violation, and Gray scored a layup with six seconds left to send the game to overtime.

“That play had an option for Javeion and an option for a three, they both jumped on (Tyrome Parker) so Javeion got the easiest bucket we probably had the whole game,” Dooley said.

A back-and-forth overtime period reached its climax in the final minute when junior Taylor Johnson, back on the court after an eye injury, hit a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats an 82-81 lead with 26 seconds left. All Baker needed was one defensive stop to get its eighth win in the Heart.

“We’ve had plays like that before where we needed to get the last stop to win. Both times before we were able to get it, but to be honest, I don’t think our defense has been at the level it needs to be all season,” Dooley said.

The two big contributors for the Eagles were guards Ron Lee, who led all scorers with 26 points, and Jay Jones, who scored 17, but his final two points proved to be the winning basket for CMU.

Jones got into the lane to score with just 2.5 seconds remaining, and then Parker’s desperation heave to beat the buzzer missed the mark.

“Ideally we would be forcing a jump shot there, but credit the point guard. He made a play there and we didn’t, and that’s why they came away with the victory,” Dooley said.

The Wildcats will travel to Canton, Missouri to take on the 9-16 (5-12 Heart) Culver-Stockton College at 4 p.m. Saturday. The last matchup between BU and C-SC ended in a 94-79 Baker win.

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