BU men’s basketball team improves

Story by Chris Duderstadt

The Baker University men’s basketball team is continuing to make improvements under the direction of first-year head coach Brett Ballard. After starting HAAC play 1-4, BU has won three of its last five games, including two straight wins against MidAmerica Nazarene University and Graceland University.

The 81-71 win against MidAmerica Nazarene was the first victory over the Pioneers since the 1999-2000 season, but Ballard is more focused on winning more conference games than of celebrating the feat.

“We are trying to beat whoever we play,” Ballard said. “It doesn’t matter to us if we beat them last year. That’s stuff we really don’t talk at all about with our guys. I think it is more important for us to keep getting better and getting every win we can get.”

The team’s recent success has come in large part due to improved offensive efficiency. In the victory over MNU, senior Jaris Wommack, who finished with 25 points, led the Wildcats along with seniors Austin Bond and Andre Strozier, who chipped in 22 points and 16 points respectively. The Wildcats followed up the performance by shooting 57 percent from 3-point range and 51 percent from the field against Graceland.

At the midway point of the conference season, the Wildcats are in a three-way tie with Missouri Valley College, Graceland and MidAmerica Nazarene for fifth place in the HAAC.

“There are a lot of us kind of jumbled up right there, so it will be a dog fight down the stretch to see who will get into the playoffs and for seeding purposes,” Ballard said.