The Barton Community College men's basketball erased a nine point late deficit Wednesday night at Garden City Community College but needed a tip-in at the buzzer for the final hurdle in the 79-77 victory. Winning by the same identical score as Monday night's victory, the script was nearly the same again as Dequandre Dentmond seized his second straight late opportunity tipping in the game winner before the horn sounded giving the Cougars its third straight win at the Dennis Perryman Gymnasium. The victory looms large for the Cougars moving Barton up the conference standings to fourth at 9-5 and 17-8 overall while Garden City slides to the eighth spot at 6-8 and 14-11. Next up for the Cougars will be another pivotal conference matchup on Saturday hosting Dodge City Community College who trails Barton by a half a game at 8-5 and 17-7. Tip off time is set for approximately 7:30 p.m. or immediately following the Hall of Fame recognition ceremony taking place prior.
Becoming typical for the Cougars, Barton had a good start to the contest but the emergence of Malik McMillan and Jordan Windholz off the bench gave the Cougars an added spark building a six point lead midway through the half. The starters then caught fire in the next few moments led by the passing of Derek Dorn finding an Anthony Smith for an easy bucket then drained a trey a possession later. Following a Dentmond pair of charity throws, John Barbee got in the act finishing off a transition with a one-hand throwdown giving Barton its largest lead of twelve with 5:27 to play.
A seven point Buster spurt followed to cool off the Cougars momentarily as the lead stretched back to twelve as Barton put together its own seven point stretch. The Busters wouldn't concede the final 1:10 of the half knocking down a trey to close with five straight to shrink the Barton lead to the locker room to 44-37.
The halftime break in action did little to slow down the Busters as Garden City came out on fire tying things up at 48 in the first three moments. Holding off the Busters for the next four minutes, Garden City would finally break free for its first lead since the score was 5-4 by rattling off a quick eight straight points for a 56-53 advantage.
The Busters held the lead as the clocked was nearing the midpoint until another power surge would stick the Cougars in a nine-point hole with 6:56 remaining. The Cougars then turned to the inside game with mid-range jumpers and drives to the hole resulting in in multiple trips to the free throw line. A 15' jumper by Dentmond completed the total turn of events as Barton's 9-0 run tied it up at 73 with 2:30 to play.
Another Dentmond jumper matched Garden City's perfect trip to the line but the Busters again took the lead after a questionable block/charge led to another pair of Buster free throws.
Knocking down huge treys late in Barton's win two nights earlier, Windholz pulled off another big jumper, this time just inside the arc tying it at 77 with forty-two seconds to play. Needing a defensive stop, the Busters appeared to be grabbing a key offensive rebound to ensure a last possession if not for the flying to the ball of Dentmond splitting two players to secure the defensive rebound with twenty-four seconds.
Putting the ball in the hands of its point guard, Dorn worked the clock then threaded between two defenders putting up a soft floater in the lane over two others. Taking one bounce off the rim Dentmond found the touch returning it to the cylinder where on the third bounce upon the frame and the red lights appeared on the glass, the game winner dropped through the twine for the victory.
Four Cougars reached double-figures on the night lead by Dorn's sixteen points and team leading four steals. Dentmond, who played with a troubled heart due to potential health concerns of a family member, dished out four assists to go along with his fifteen points. Ezekiel Charles, who would also score fifteen, was near perfect on the night going 4-of-4 from the field and sinking 6-of-7 from the charity stripe while Anthony Smith added fourteen while leading the Cougars with five rebounds.
Josh Fleming led all scorers with twenty-three points knocking down four of his eight three point attempts. Zach Beard was also deadly from long range going 3-of-6 scoring fifteen points while Aaron Ray finished up with ten as did Dionte Jones coming off the bench. James McNeal dished out a game high six assists while Fleming and Jones each grabbed five boards leading a slim three rebound advantage for the Busters.