Rallying from a ten point halftime deficit with fifty second half points, the No. 11 ranked Barton Community College men's basketball team won its third straight at the Power Plant in El Dorado with an 80-73 defeat of Butler Community College. Winning by nine earlier in the season at the Barton Gym, the Cougars' first sweep over the Grizzlies since 2012 keeps Barton a game ahead in the standings at 14-2 and 18-2 while dropping Butler to its third straight defeat in sliding to 5-11 in the Jayhawk and 8-11 overall. Barton will put its seven game win streak to the test on Saturday with a trip to Liberal for an 8:00 p.m. tip at seventh place Seward County Community College (8-7, 13-7).
Barton trailed throughout the first ten minutes until Akeem White's hoop-n-harm followed by a offensive rebound putback for his ninth point gave the Cougars a spark off the bench for their first lead at 17-16. The Grizzlies surged back out in front with a 9-2 spurt before Elijah Ford's four straight cut the margin back down to three. After a pair of Grizzly free throws, Ford joined White with nine first half points but Butler owned the final three minutes outscoring the Cougars by six with two three pointers, the sixth of the half coming just prior to the halftime buzzer for a ten point lead.
The Cougars stormed out of the locker room with ten of the first thirteen points in just four minutes, tying the game at forty-three thirty seconds later as Noah Webster connected for Barton's first three-ball of the game. Getting a defensive stop, Ford then dumped in his then fifteenth point of the game to cap the 15-3 start to the half in just five minutes. Trading points on the ensuing possessions, the Cougars surged ahead on an 8-0 run getting a Kawanise Wilkins tip-in followed by a Roy Broomfield jumper and four straight from White to claim its largest lead of eight at 55-47 with 12:32 to play.
The Grizzlies battled back to close within two at the second half media timeout and again with four minutes of play, but Barton held off the surge each time getting timely defensive and offensive contributions including drawing a big player control foul by Keshon Montague, along with Wilkins and Webster late drives in the paint.
Ford led all scorers on the night with a 7-of-11 shooting performance finishing with nineteen points along with seven rebounds. Scoring fifteen points, Wilkins posted his second straight and eighth double-double of the season with a career high eighteen rebounds, six coming on the offensive glass to help lead Barton to a twenty-three rebound edge over the Grizzlies. White's fifteen sparkplug points off the bench was joined by Montague's twelve.
Russell Smith led the Grizzlies with seventeen with Karlon McSpadden adding thirteen as the duo connected on six of ten shots from beyond the arc. Justin Criddle contributed eleven points and four assists off the bench while Jared Armstrong dished out a game high five dimes.
Other Game Notes:
- Barton now leads the overall series 56-42 overall and 25-22 in El Dorado
- Barton's victory was the second straight in the series and fifth of the last six games
- Barton proved it could win without knocking down the three-ball as the Cougars posted a season low in made and attempted shots beyond the arc (3-of-12) for a season second lowest 25% shooting
- The Cougars were also held to their lowest assist total (6) as conference leader Keshon Montague dished out just one dime to slip to 5.8 per game
- The Cougars' 23 rebound edge is the fourth time this season Barton has had a plus twenty rebound margin, the first in conference play and the best since outrebounding Pratt by eighteen on Jan. 6th.
- Kawanise Wilkins has grabbed double-digit rebounds in four straight games, averaging thirteen boards to go along with nearly fourteen points per contest during the stretch
- Two Cougars had their hot streak cooled down Wednesday night. Montague had a three game streak snapped of dishing out six or more assists while Marvin Cannon had his three game 25 point or more stretch snapped taking just four shots in finishing with four points. However, the reigning conference player of the week stayed in the top four shot blockers in the conference swatting away two Grizzly shots to increase his streak of rejecting two or more shots to six straight games.