Unlike the previous shootout meeting at the Barton Gym, Wednesday night in Arkansas City was anything of an offensive highlight show but featured its share of dramatics as the Barton Community College men's basketball team rallied from a nine-point late deficit to win 86-81 in overtime over the Tigers of Cowley College. Searching for offensive production and in a nine point hole with just under seven minutes to play, the Cougars contributed throughout the lineup needing a pair of free throws with four seconds left to force extra time. Barton then scored the opening four points of overtime and eight of the first ten to seize command before holding on for its second overtime win of the year. The Cougars' victory, aided by Dodge City's loss, leaves Barton alone in second place of the Jayhawk at 13-5 and 17-5 on the season while dropping the Tigers to 9-9 in conference action and 12-10 overall. Next up for Barton is Saturday's 5:30 p.m. contest hosting Allen County Community College, a Red Devil team riding hot into the Barton Gym after Wednesday night's 85-76 victory Butler Community College.
Barton began the contest dialed in from long distance getting three-pointers to fall from Jahlil Rawley, Malik Rhodes, and Noah Webster in building a 14-11 lead just six minutes into the game. The Tigers then took command over the next five minutes going on a 7-0 run and a 12-2 stretch for a seven point lead. Beginning with a Charles Norman short jumper, an 8-0 spurt put the Cougars ahead and following a Cowley three-pointer to answer, Webster drained his second long ball of the half giving Barton its final lead until late in the game. The Tigers would answer with a 10-0 run surrendering three late Barton points to take a 36-30 advantage to halftime.
The teams muddled their way through the opening ten minutes of second half action combining for twenty-four points with Cowley maintaining the six point lead at 48-42 into to the 9:34 media timeout.
Tempo picked up in the final ten minutes with the Cougars fighting through a long range shooting drought finding themselves trailing by nine with 6:54 to play. Turning up the defensive pressure and offensive aggressiveness getting to the free throw line, Rhodes and Norman spearheaded the comeback cutting the deficit to four. One minute later after a Cowley technical foul, Anthony Smith's two trips to the line book ending Norman's trip to the stripe cut the deficit to three before a Rhodes bucket and Ezekiel Charles' hoop-n-harm gave Barton its first lead in over twenty-two minutes coming at the 2:32 mark on the clock.
Following a Cowley bucket, a pair of Charles free throws was answered by the Tigers' sinking a pair of tosses. Smith then battled inside for a short jumper putting the Cougars out in front but a Tiger circus shot in the lane gave the home clad a 65-64 lead with just eleven seconds left. Going the length of the floor, Rawley found a seam in the defense nearly kissing one off the glass for a three-point play but instead was forced to the line with four seconds remaining where the freshman sank both tosses tying the game up. Cowley's desperation shot at the buzzer was well off its mark sending the game to overtime just as the teams did in the 2011 Region VI first round play at the W.S. Scott Auditorium.
The Cougars seized the early momentum in overtime and never looked back getting a Rhodes and Smith jumper putting Barton out in front for good. Another 4-0 run midway through the extra frame from Rhodes and Charles opened up a six point lead, a lead matched again following a pair of Tigers' free throws as Charles responded with an inside bucket. The Tigers kept coming at the Cougars with buckets or trips to the free throw line, but Barton sealed the deal making all but one of its eight free throws down the stretch for the victory, including two coming on an inbounds violation resulting in a technical foul with the Cougars up three with nine seconds to play.
Norman led the Cougars with a career high seventeen points sinking 7-of-8 from the stripe as the Cougars would drain nearly 73% of their fourth-eight free throws. Rawley was close behind with sixteen points with Charles scoring twelve of his fourteen in second half action as the duo each hauled down eight rebounds. Rhodes added eleven points with a team high four assists, Smith contributed nine points, and Malik Toppin scored eight while also giving the Cougars three players with eight rebounds leading to a Barton four rebound edge.
Kyree Mills and Ryker Pierce each matched Norman's game high honors of seventeen to lead the Tigers with Pedro Da Silva posting a double-double fifteen point ten rebound performance.