The Barton Community College men's basketball team needed a late surge Saturday evening at the Barton Gym to hold off a pesky Red Devil team from Allen County Community College 85-77. Tied with three minutes remaining, the Cougars owned the following two minutes scoring nine unanswered points to remain unbeaten at home against the Red Devils in fifteen meetings. The victory also keeps the Cougars alone in second place of the Jayhawk standings improving to 14-5 and 18-5 on the year while Allen County drops into ninth at 8-11 and 11-12 overall. Next up for the Cougars is a Wednesday trip to Independence Community College for an 8:00 p.m. tip-off.
Allen County took the early upper hand with a 5-0 spurt to grab a grab a five point lead four minutes into the contest before the Cougars woke up and owned the ensuing four minutes of play. Beginning with an Anthony Smith free throw, a Noah Webster trey and five more points from Smith with a pair of Ezekiel Charles free throws closed out an 11-0 Barton response for a six point lead at the midpoint.
The Red Devils would respond to the Cougars run with a spurt of their own scoring eleven of the next thirteen points to again grab another five point lead with 3:44 to play. Webster then turned catalyst distributing consecutive assists to the paint the first finding Keeshawn Palmer flying in from the baseline for a two-hand flush and then feeding Malik Toppin mid-lane for a rise up tomahawk to ignite the Cougar faithful. One minute later a Palmer jumper in the paint was followed by Webster's second first half trey and Smith's twelfth point of the half as Barton Closed out the half with the final seven points for a 38-34 halftime edge.
The first ten minutes of the second half was seesaw battle on the playground until consecutive baskets from Toppin, Jahlil Rawley, and Charles turned a three point deficit into a three point Barton lead with 9:22 to play.
Barton's lead would increase by one following a Malik Rhodes trey with 6:26 remaining but a Shon Sanders trey would answer the call leading the Red Devils on a 7-2 stretch to grab a 68-69 final lead with 4:10 on the clock. Following a Rawley trey being answered by DaRon Mims' jumper in the paint to tie the game for the seventh time coming at the 3:23 mark, the game took a final and dramatic change for the Cougars going on a decisive 9-0 run in the next two minutes. The teams traded buckets for free throws with Barton sinking 5-of-6 in the final minute ensuring the victory.
Smith led three Cougars in double-digits with eighteen points with Rawley and Charles close behind with seventeen and sixteen points respectively. Smith and Charles each pulled down eight rebounds to lead a Barton four board edge on the glass while Rhodes dished out a team high four assists to go along with nine points.
Allen County just had two players in double digits with each having big production nights. Mims led the way with twenty-eight on 12-of-21 shooting including 3-of-6 behind the arc while Quentin Blaue knocked down six second half treys in finishing 7-of-9 from long range scoring twenty-seven. Blaue also hauled down a team high six rebounds and dished out a second best five assists behind E.J. Garnes' six dimes.