The Barton Community College men's basketball team held off a second half Thunderbird rally on Hall of Fame nigh Saturday at the Barton Gym with a 74-71 victory over Cloud County Community College to sweep the season series. Leading by six at halftime, Barton doubled its lead in the next twelve minutes before an 18-8 Cloud County run made things interesting for the final 1:35. The Cougars then sank 7-of-8 from the free throw line holding off the Thunderbirds including a trey with one second remaining and a Barton turnover with the tying trey attempt unable to beat the buzzer. With three games remaining in the regular season, Barton strengthened is spot for the region's second seed improving to 17-6 in Jayhawk play and 21-6 overall while Cloud County slips back to a fourth place tie with Coffeyville at 13-10 and 17-10 on the year. Within the remaining games, the Cougars have two at the Barton Gym beginning with Wednesday's hosting of Pratt Community College for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Malik Rhodes' three consecutive first half three pointers broke open a tight first half turning Barton's two point lead to an eleven point margin as just 1:45 ticked off the clock. Ezekiel Charles and Noah Webster added fourteen points each while Malik Toppin posted his fifth double-double of the year scoring thirteen and hauling down ten boards with four coming on the offensive end. Jahlil Rawley dished out a team high six dimes while Rhodes and Smith led in steals with two each. The Cougars also rejected six shots on the night getting a pair from Toppin, Smith, and Keeshawn Palmer coming off the bench.
Aamahne Santos led three Thunderbirds in double digits scoring twenty. Deon Lyle, who put up twenty-eight points in the previous meeting, connected on 4-of-9 from behind the arc finishing with fourteen. Andrew Ballock rounded out the double figure scorers with eleven. Jordan McNelly led in rebounds with eight while adding eight points and Lyle and Santos each dished out a team high four assists.