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Tuesday, 05 July 2011 10:33

Playoff Preview

2.29.12 | Men's Basketball

Third-seeded Baker hosts sixth-seeded Benedictine Wednesday night

Baker vs Benedictine

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – It has been more than 10 years since the Baker University men’s basketball team played a home playoff game in the George F. Collins Center.

That will all change Wednesday evening when the Wildcats host rival Benedictine College in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

Baker (19-10, 12-6 HAAC) boasts the No. 3 seed while Benedictine (15-14, 10-8 HAAC) enters play as the No. 6 seed.

The Wildcats are coming off a 90-75 victory over Central Methodist University (Mo.) on Feb. 24, and Benedictine is coming off a 57-48 defeat to Avila University (Mo.) in its season finale.Ballard Video

Just last week Baker and Benedictine battled for the second time in the HAAC regular season. The Ravens pulled off a shocking come-from-behind victory in the last two minutes to upset Baker 68-62 in overtime. Baker won the first meeting 54-43 on Jan. 19.

“Our fans the past two home games have been great,” Baker head coach Brett Ballard said. “I am hoping our fans can get out and support us on Wednesday. When we get this gym packed, it’s as good as anywhere in the conference.”

All-HAAC second-team selection Ben Steinlage continues to lead the Baker offense with 11.9 points per game. He’s also tallied five double-doubles on the year. Corey Anderson, and honorable mention all-HAAC selection, is the only other Wildcat currently averaging in double figures with 10.5 points per game.

“It’s always good to see guys get recognized at the conference level,” Ballard added. “Both of them know we have some more work to do from here on out.”

Jordan Honore and Jack Shortell will also look to play key roles for the Wildcats. Honore leads the team beyond the arc, shooting 42 percent from three-point range. Shortell averages 7.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Look for a lowing scoring game as Baker enters the contest ranked fifth nationally with a field-goal defense of 39 percent. The Wildcats also rank No. 8 nationally with 28.2 defensive rebounds per game. Benedictine’s scoring defense checks in at sixth nationally, allowing only 62 points per game. The Ravens’ field-goal defense of 40 percent ranks No. 12 nationally.

The Ravens have three players averaging in double figures with Charlie Wallrapp leading with 12.1 points per game. Quaran Johnson (12.1 points per game) and Alex Miller (10.5) round out the top three.

Johnson played the hero’s role for Benedictine the last time out against Baker, sinking a decisive 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds to play in regulation to send the game into overtime.

The first 150 Baker students to the game on Wednesday will be admitted free of charge, courtesy of Dean Cassy Bailey. Tickets for the contest will be $5 for adults, $2 for students with a valid student ID. Baker ID cards will not be admitted free. Spectators with NAIA passes will be admitted free.

Baker University Athletics | PO box 65 | Baldwin City, Kan., 66006 | www.bakeru.edu