The one that got away seems to be an all too familiar theme with this year's Barton Community College men's basketball team as the Cougars' struggles at home continued dropping a 74-71 battle to Dodge City Community College. Having snuck out with victories in its past two games, the Cougars led for most of Saturday's Hall of Fame night's contest but a three-point in the final minute proved the difference in the Conquistadors stealing their first victory at the Barton Gym since 2008. The loss flip-flopped Barton and Dodge City in the conference standings dropping the Cougars to fifth at 9-6 and 17-9 on the season while the Conquistadors jumped into the fourth slot at 9-5 and 18-7. Next up for the Cougars will be a two-game road stretch beginning with Wednesday's 8:00 p.m. tip-off at Colby Community College before next Saturday's trip to Seward County Community College. Barton's next and final home game will come Wednesday, February 17, against Cloud County Community College.
Featuring five ties and three lead changes, the teams traded scoring spurts throughout the first half. Case in point was following Jordan Windholz' deep right wing trey from Ezekiel Charles capped a Barton 7-0 run to lead 30-23 with 4:30 to play, the Conquistadors quickly struck back with six of their own to cut it to one. The duo of Charles and Windholz hooked up again this time with Charles being on the receiving end of a three-pointer as the Cougars would respond bulging the lead back out to six. A Lorenzo Dillard long ball and personal 5-0 run countered attacked and a Jonathan Joseph bucket near the buzzer sent the teams to halftime with Barton clinging to a 37-36 lead.
Charles began the Barton second half scoring with a trey from one of Derek Dorn's career high eight assists on the night. Four straight Dorn points ballooned the lead to eight as just two minutes had clicked off the clock. The Conquistadors chipped away at the lead drawing to within one a couple of times but another Charles three pointer and Anthony Smith points in the paint took the lead back out to six nearing the midway point.
Again the Conquistadors chipped at the deficit to within one with a 4-0 stretch but Jordan Windholz put a band-aid on the would knocking down a three-ball for a 63-59 lead with 5:44 to play. It would be the largest lead for the Cougars the rest of the way as Barton went scoreless for the next two minutes as the third alley-oop dunk from the Dillard to Joseph combination surged Dodge city to a 65-63 lead.
As he's done multiple times this season, Dorn stepped up for Barton burying a 17' jumper to tie then traded free throws with Dillard as the teams hit the 1:33 mark tied at 67. Knocking down 4-of-6 behind the arc on the night, Jeremy Treaudo hit the biggest of the night on the following possession putting the Conquistadors back on top by three. Charles, who led the Cougars with eight rebounds on the night, got his second offensive board collecting his own miss with the stick back drawing Barton back to within one with thirty seven seconds left.
Playing the statistical game for the final seconds, the Cougars fouled Mario Ponds sending the freshman to the line. Having made just three free throws all season, Ponds swished the pair putting the lead back out to three with 21.5 seconds. The Cougars perimeter passing was trying to free up Windholz for a potential game tying trey but the Conquistador defense snuffed out the perimeter as Barton had to settle for a Charles jump hook closing the game to one with 8.6 left.
In a controversial play of the night, the conquistadors' inbounds appeared to have deflected off Ponds' leg out of bounds. Instead of Barton getting possession under their own goal, a foul was called sending Ponds back to the line. The Wichita native again connected on both and Dequandre Dentmond's bid to be the hero for the third straight game came up empty as his three-pointer skipped off the back iron.
Smith had a solid night to lead Barton with a game high twenty-one points connecting on 10-of-13 from the field. Charles led the Cougars with eight rebounds while contributing fifteen points and dishing out five assists. Dorn's personal best assist night also included a fourteen point night to round out the Barton double-digit scorers.
Four Conquistadors reached double-figures led by Joseph's seventeen points. Treaudo came off the bench for sixteen while Dillard and Boutte each scored twelve. Dillard continued his bid for conference best point guard dishing out ten assists being joined by the additional double-double performance from Boutte hauling down eleven rebounds leading Dodge City's eight board glass advantage.