For whatever reason, Baker's Greg Easter seemed to find himself open time and again late in the Wildcats' game with McPherson College here Friday.
And he made the Bulldogs pay.
Easter scored 10 points in a crucial 4-minute stretch in the final first-day game of the McPherson College Classic to lead Baker to a 74-67 victory.
Easter, who came off the bench to lead the Wildcats with 17 points, made four baskets in that time frame, two of them 3-pointers, as the Wildcats fended off every Bulldog attempt to tie or take the lead. The Bulldogs were down 59-58 with 5:40 to go when Easter made his first of two straight treys and Mac spent the rest of the game chasing.
"They shot the ball well tonight," said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, whose team is now 3-3 after its second straight loss. "And I really didn't think our defense was that bad. We gave up a few at times when they got around us, but if you look at their season stats they've only been shooting about 25 percent from 3. And I thought they made several huge baskets at the end of the shot clock."
Baker shot well beyond its normal clip, making 8 of 19 treys. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were just 4 of 19.
"We have been a really good shooting team, that's been a strength of this team thus far — we've been able to score," Swartzendruber said. "We just haven't been able to stop people when we've played good teams."
The Bulldogs got off to a slow start, down as many as 12 in the first half, before staging a late rally to trail 37-35.
They took a 44-43 lead on a traditional 3-point play by Darius Hill, but never led again.
Hill finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while T.J. Grant scored 11 and Page Beeler added 10. Mac won the battle of the boards 38-32 and also had just 12 turnovers, stats that normally result in a win.
The Bulldogs must now forget this game as they have a rematch with Haskell at 4 p.m. Saturday. Mac won the first game 94-81, but had to rally in the second half to do it. The Indians are winless on the year and lost a close 71-67 verdict to Bethel in Friday's afternoon session.
Mac (67) — Henson 5, Grant 11, Beeler 10, Hill 18, Lakin 2, Bachura 6, Crook 3, Parker 2, Denno 8, Martinez 2.
Baker (74) — Carter 6, Fulks 8, Gray 10, Parker 8, Wilson 5, Oberding 5, Barnes 4, Easter 17, Guscott 7, Bramble 4.