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Crusaders beat men’s basketball team

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Ballard discusses team’s success

The Baker University men’s basketball team got off to a hot start against Evangel University Saturday, but the Wildcats’ 23 turnovers proved costly as the Crusaders defeated BU 73-58.

“We had some untimely turnovers,” head coach Brett Ballard said. “We turned the ball over 23 times in the game and against good teams on the road, you aren’t going to win games when you turn the ball over that much. We just had some turnovers at some unfortunate times that really hurt us.”

The Wildcats jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes, but Evangel rallied to tie the game at 17-17.

The ‘Cats and Crusaders battled back and forth for the remainder of the first half with Baker going into the break with a 34-32 advantage.

However, Evangel took the lead early on in the second half and kept Baker at arm’s reach until pulling away late in the game.

“What we didn’t do as a team is that we didn’t execute down the stretch well like we have been throughout this entire season,” senior Joe Wachter said. “If you look back on our winning streak, we were executing on important possessions, especially down the stretch. Unfortunately for us, especially the last 10 minutes of the game, they executed their offense and we just didn’t get the job done on our side of the ball.”

Three Wildcats scored in double figures with junior Ben Steinlage leading all Baker players with 15 points.

Baker will go head-to-head with Heart of America Athletic Conference newcomer Peru State College tonight in Collins Center.

BU will take on Culver-Stockton College at 4 p.m. Saturday in Canton, Mo. before matching up against conference leader MidAmerica Nazarene University at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Collins Center.

Although Culver-Stockton was tied for last place in the HAAC as of Wednesday, Ballard realizes that Baker can’t afford to look ahead to the game against MNU.

“I think our guys understand that in this conference, anybody can beat anybody,” Ballard said. “We know that we have a big one on Thursday to take care of, and then we’ll look at Saturday after that. This team has done a good job, after their losses, of bouncing back and having good practices and focusing on the next game on the schedule, so I don’t think they’ll look ahead at all.”

The ‘Cats were tied for third place in conference play as of Wednesday, but the race for a conference championship is tight with only five games remaining before the HAAC postseason tournament.

“We just need to play like we practice every day,” junior Todd Johnston said. “We just have to execute on offense and dig down deep on defense and I think we’ll be all right from here on out.”

Going into Thursday’s game against Peru State, the Wildcats were 15-8 overall and 8-4 in conference play.

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