Not known for its long distance shooting the Barton Community College men's basketball team buried a season high 62.5% from beyond the arc winning its second straight in Concordia with a 93-79 win over nationally receiving votes Cloud County Community College. Placing five players in double digit figures, the Cougars knocked down all seven of its second half shots in scoring fifty-seven points to snap a three game slide in the season. The victory moves both the Cougars and Thunderbirds into a four team log jam for second place in the conference race at 7-3, as well as, an identical 11-3 mark on the season. Next up for the Cougars is a Saturday trip to Pratt Community College for a 4:00 p.m. tip-off at the Dennis Lesh Sports Arena.
Two Cougars put nineteen points on the board with Malik Rhodes burying four treys for the third time this season connecting on 4-of-6 while Anthony Smith came out of the locker room on fire scoring ten of Barton's first fourteen points finishing 8-of-10 from the field while leading the team with eight rebounds. Jahlil Rawley put up a career high eighteen points on a perfect 4-of-4 beyond the arc dishing out a team high eight assists. Noah Webster led an eleven point bench production edge dropping thirteen points including his first three pointer of the season while Charles Norman added ten points.
Deon Lyle had a sensational night behind the arc in leading Cloud County connecting on 8-of-12 from long distance to lead all scorers with twenty-eight points. Three others reached double digits with Aamahne Santos striking for fifteen, Jordan McNelly behind five offensive rebounds and a team high nine boards adding thirteen points, and Alex Martin contributing twelve. Andrew Ballock dished out a game high ten assists while flirting with a double-double hauling down eight boards.
Smith got the Cougars off to a fast start scoring Barton's first six points and ten of the first fourteen as Barton built a nine point lead twice in the opening eight minutes. Cloud County clawed its way back as fouls began to plague the Cougars clinging to just a one point lead just under the 9:36 media timeout. Kannen Haist then found a cutting Malik Toppin for a two-hand baseline flush ending the T-bird eight point run and four minute Cougar scoring drought.
As the Cougars scored two-point baskets, the T-birds' Lyle was dialed in from long distance burying three treys while adding an old fashioned three point play putting Cloud County on the front side of a 25-20 score with five minutes remaining. Barton then launched its own long ball attack getting treys from Rhodes and Rawley sandwiched around a Cloud layup in closing the gap to one.
Barton appeared to take the lead a couple of possessions later but Rhodes layup was waived off on an offensive foul to the dismay of Head Coach Craig Fletchall drawing a technical foul with 3:27 on the clock. The T-birds sank the ensuing free throws but the re-ignited Cougars went on a 10-1 run over the next three minutes grabbing a six point lead before a late inside bucket cut the Barton halftime lead to 36-32.
Again getting the Cougars started coming out of the locker room, Smith began a 10-3 stretch gaided by two Rhodes treys pushing the lead to 48-34. A Lyle four-point play converting the free throw after burying a baseline trey cut the deficit to seven for the closest the T-birds would come the rest of the way. A trio of three pointers coming from Rhodes, Norman, and Rawley highlighted an 11-2 run blowing the Barton lead out to seventeen with 11:12 to play.
The T-birds had no answer for the balanced Barton attack the rest of the way but did make things interesting with a 6-0 run cutting the deficit to eight with 1:32 to play. Barton sank 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch while holding Cloud scoreless before Webster's slash to the hole beating the shot clock buzzer put the icing on the cake for a fifteen point lead with forty seconds remaining.
Barton will look to string together a couple of victories to open up the 2017 portion of the schedule traveling to Pratt to take on a Beaver basketball team looking for a win after a 122-82 drubbing Wednesday night at Butler Community College. The Beavers dropped to 2-8 in Jayhawk play and 4-9 on the season but have won two of the last three against the Cougars at the Lesh Arena.