It's said defense wins championships but at least in Saturday's matchup in The Greenhouse, a hot shooting club and turnovers overrode the defensive effort as the Barton Community College men's basketball team couldn't contain the Saints in Seward County Community College's 86-82 victory. The Cougars, one of the top defensive teams in the Jayhawk, not only turned the ball over a season high times but failed to hold the Saints' top rated offense under 50% shooting for the second time this season. Getting some help in other conference results, the third straight loss only dropped the Cougars one spot in the standings at 9-8 and 17-11 while Seward County leap frogged Barton into fifth place at 8-7 and 18-8 on the season. Still controlling its destiny to host a first round region playoff game, Barton will play its final regular season home contest this coming Wednesday against Cloud County Community College. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. or twenty-minutes after the conclusion of sophomore recognition taking place between the women's and men's contests.
Unlike the team's tango back in January at the Barton gym when the Saints were able to grab an eighteen points, neither team was able to build a lead more than eight points Saturday night as the game featured ten lead changes with thirteen ties. Barton shot over 46% on the night but the Saints were much better connecting just shy of 55% and despite owning a twenty rebound edge over Seward County, the Cougars gave the ball back twenty-three times for the most since early November.
The Saints built their largest lead through the first five minutes of the contest with an 8-1 stretch to lead 17-10. Back came the Cougars with a 9-1 run as Anthony Smith threw down a two-hand stuff from John Barbee then Barbee dialed in from long distance as the Cougars started to roll. A Tyrone Acuff offensive rebound put-back and a Jordan Windholz jumper gave the lead back to the guys in blue.
Tied at twenty one, Seward County transfer Derek Dorn knocked down a contested trey and after a Jordan Windholz trey, Barton grabbed its largest lead of eight with 8:50 to play at 29-21. The Saints answered scoring thirteen of the next fifteen points reclaiming the lead and as the case all night, the Cougars made their own run right back at white clad home squad looking to take a seven point lead to the locker room if not for a Charles Beauregard long bomb seconds before the buzzer.
Scoring ten of the first eleven points of the second half, the Saints five point lead was short lived as Barton owned the next three minutes scoring eleven straight within a 14-2 run for a 59-52 lead with 13:24 to play.
Barton would keep the seven point lead the following three minutes but fouls started to mount on the Cougars sending the Saints into the double-bonus with over ten minutes left in the contest. Seward County began to shave off points inching closer until tying it up at 70 with 5:43 left.
A Barbee 1-of-2 trip to the line followed by a pair of Dorn charity throws would give Barton's its final lead of the night with just under five to play as the attacking of the paint from Niem Stevenson would play out the next three minutes resulting in an 80-78 lead with 2:15 remaining.
After Barton drew to within one following Dorn's 1-of-2 free throws, the Cougar defense had the Saints where they wanted but Delano Jones buried a long range bomb with three seconds left on the shot clock for his fifth of the game increasing the lead to four with 1:25 on the clock.
Giving full effort in his thirty-seven minutes to beat his former team, Dorn struck back with a drive to the hoop cutting the deficit in half fifteen seconds later. Pressuring the inbounds, the Cougars got the ball back on a five second count but Charles' baseline contested jam rimmed off. Again the Barton defense created another Seward turnover with thirty-two seconds, but an ill-advised pass gave the ball right back and two Beauregard free throws put the lead back out to four.
The teams traded 1-of-2 free throws and Barton's effort to cut the four point deficit in the final fifteen seconds came up empty.
Dorn led four Cougars in double-digit scoring knocking down 3-of-5 behind the arc for twenty-one points while dishing out a team high five dimes. Smith was close behind at nineteen hauling down a team high ten rebounds for the freshman's third double-double of the season. Coming off the bench Acuff and Barbee each added eleven.
As he's done in most Seward County games this season, Stevenson led the Saints with a twenty-nine point effort to go along with team high honors with four assists and five steals. Connecting on five of his seven shots behind the arc, Jones finished with eighteen as did Beauregard coming off the bench. Mitchell Packard, who also came off the bench, rounded out the double-digit scorers with eleven.