The Barton Community College men's basketball team took to the road for the first time of the season Saturday controlling second half action in an 82-71 victory at Colby Community College. The Cougars' three point halftime lead at the Community Building reached double digits early in the half growing to as much as eighteen in breaking a two game losing streak against the Trojans. Barton improves to 5-0 on the season while Colby drops its first of the season falling to 4-1. The Cougars will next host Garden City Community College on Wednesday in a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Charles Norman matched his season high in the first half, getting four of those with consecutive jumpers in the lane to break open an early battle into a five point Barton lead. The advantage hovered around that mark late into the half until Norman slashed to the hoop and John Barbee buried his only trey attempt highlighting a 10-4 stretch growing the lead out to nine with 2:35 left.
Colby answered with a 5-0 run outscoring the Cougars 7-1 to close within three 39-36 at the intermission break but the momentum was short lived as Barton would own the first five minutes of the second twenty minutes. Jahlil Rawley got things rolling with a block of a Trojan shot leading to an Ezekiel Charles transition dunk then on the next possession drained a pull-up sixteen footer from the elbow to match Barton's largest lead of nine 15:07 left.
Hovering at the eleven point mark for the next six minutes a pair of Malik Rhodes free throws and Anthony Smith's eighth point of the second half expanded the lead to fifteen with 8:35 to play. From there the Cougars controlled the rest of the way, growing the lead out to eighteen, before Colby finished off the last ninety seconds outscoring Barton 10-1 closing the gap to the final nine point margin.
Charles led four Cougars in double digit scoring with twenty-two points including a 9-for-9 free throw performance as Barton shot 81% from the charity stripe. Keeshawn Palmer was 6-of-8 from the line leading to fourteen points off the bench while Rhodes was 6-of-7 for thirteen points and Norman contributed eleven with ten coming in the opening half. Smith just missed reaching double digits scoring eight second half points leading a 53-40 rebound edge by the Cougars hauling down seven boards.
Saqh Athie led the Trojans in both scoring and rebounds with sixteen and seven while David Hall added thirteen points and Caleal Walker finishing with eleven.