The Baker Orange

Wildcats win first basketball game 53-52 on buzzer-beater

Story by Chris Duderstadt

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The Baker University men’s basketball team entered its season opener against Kansas Wesleyan University with great expectations, but no one on the team could have expected the game to end the way it did.

BU had a 12-point lead early in the second half, but the lead slowly dwindled until Kansas Wesleyan gained the lead with 49 seconds left. The Wildcats needed help to give head coach Brett Ballard a win in his first game as a head coach.

Luckily for the Wildcats, sophomore Sam Kenney was just the help Baker was looking for in Ballard’s debut.

Baker trailed 52-50 with two seconds remaining, with Kansas Wesleyan inbounding the ball underneath Baker’s basket. Kenney intercepted the pass at half court and quickly turned around to throw up a 3-pointer to win the game 53-52 as time expired.

“To be honest, I was just trying to get a shot off,” Kenney said. “It was kind of a gift, so I was just happy to get the ball. I heaved it up there with two seconds left to go and hoped it went in.”

Even though Ballard wasn’t pleased with the team’s overall performance, he still considers this game to be one of the most memorable games that he has been involved in, including all of the games he played in and was a part of as an assistant coach at the University of Kansas.

“I would have to rank this game second, behind the (2008) national championship game,” Ballard said.

Ballard enjoyed his first game as a head coach and is focused on helping his team improve game by game.

“That part was fun,” Ballard said. “That was a lot of fun and I enjoy it here. I love this place and it’s a good place to be. We just got to keep getting better.”