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Wednesday, 22 February 2012 13:23

Road Test Thursday

2.23.12 | Men's Basketball

Baker set for road test against Benedictine Thursday evening

Ballard Pregame

ATCHISON, Kan. – Securing third place overall in the Heart of America Athletic Conference has never been more important for the Baker University men’s basketball team.

Because of the host agreement between the Heart of America Athletic Conference and the NAIA, the top three teams in the HAAC are assured of bids to the 2012 NAIA National Championships set to be held Mar. 14-20 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

Baker (18-9, 11-5 HAAC) currently owns sole possession of third place over Graceland University, Avila University, and Benedictine College by two games. All three teams currently own 9-7 conference records.

Defeating Benedictine (14-13, 9-7 HAAC) would be key in painting a clearer picture for the Wildcats heading into Saturday’s showdown with Central Methodist on Senior Day. The Wildcats own a season sweep over Avila University and could potentially do the same to Benedictine with a victory. Graceland is the lone squad that owns home-and-home wins against Baker.

“The bottom line is winning Thursday would automatically clinch third place for us,” said Baker head coach Brett Ballard. “It’s their senior night up there, so they’re going to be pretty motivated. They’re a low possession team that doesn’t give up a ton of points, but I think if we play the same way we did the first time defensively we’ll be in good shape.”

Juniors Ben Steinlage and Corey Anderson continue to lead all Baker scorers with 11.8 and 10.1 points per game respectively. Senior Jack Shortell has anchored the Baker defense with 6.1 rebounds and 7.7 points per game. Baker’s defense currently ranks eight nationally with a field goal defense of 39 percent.

Benedictine enters play with three players averaging in double figures as Quaran Johnson tops the Ravens with 12.3 points per game. Charlie Wallrapp and Alex Miller each average 12.1 and 10.6 points per game respectively. The Ravens’ defense currently ranks sixth nationally, giving up 62.1 points per game.

Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m., Feb. 23 in Atchison, Kan. Listen to the game live here.

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