Watkins’ shot to beat Ottawa keeps Baker men unbeaten
Baker University senior DJ Watkins nailed a jump shot with 5.6 seconds left in the game to help the Wildcats defeat Ottawa University 74-73 Monday night.
The Wildcats trailed by one point with time winding down, until Watkins received the ball. He fired the shot that gave Baker the lead and won the game.
"We ran a play, but it didn't work," Watkins said. "I got the ball and went to the basket. I got an open look and got a lucky roll. It's the most exciting thing that has happened this year."
Baker coach Rick Weaver said the victory was nice, especially since the Wildcats came from behind late in the game.
"We were down eight or nine with a few minutes left," Weaver said. "It was nice to come back from that deficit. It was a good win."
Baker (5-0) remained undefeated with the last-second victory in Ottawa.
"Ottawa is the strongest opponent we have played so far, so it was good to get a win on their home court," Weaver said. "It's nice to be undefeated, but it's still early."
Watkins said being 5-0 is nice, but the team has many areas to improve before conference games start Saturday.
"It feels good, but we know we have a lot of work to do," Watkins said. "It's nice, but it's short lived."
Watkins only scored six points in the game. Senior Nate Pedrow led the Wildcats with 17 points and six rebounds. Junior Andy Hannon scored 11 points.
After the first half, Baker trailed 44-37 because of several turnovers and some missed shot opportunities.
In the second half, the Wildcats increased the tempo and wore the Braves down.
"I think we really tired them out in the second half with our running style of offense," Watkins said. "Everybody just stepped up in the second half, especially our big man Nate down low."
Ottawa shot a slightly better percentage from the field for the game. The Braves made 29 of 53 shots, for 55 percent, while Baker shot 52 percent on 30 of 58 shooting.
Baker outscored Ottawa by eight in the second half to secure the win. Watkins was happy to win because he said either could have won the game.
"It could have gone either way, but it feels great to come away with a win," Watkins said. "After the game, Weaver was happy to get the win with the road stretch we still have coming up."
The Wildcats begin Heart of America Athletic Conference play this weekend. They will play Avila University at 4 p.m. Saturday in Kansas City, Mo. Then they will travel to William Jewell College to play at 7 p.m. Monday in Liberty, Mo.