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Cougars heat up in second half play for come-from-behind win at Garden City #GoBarton

Barton men's basketball graphic

The Barton Community College men's basketball team shook off a cold first half shooting to recover from a six point deficit in winning 77-74 Wednesday night at Garden City Community College. Improving their second half shooting by nearly 14% including 7-of-11 from behind the arc, the Cougars built a seven point lead before holding off the Broncbusters in the final 4:30 to stay unblemished on the season. The victory moved Barton to 2-0 in conference play and 6-0 overall while Garden City's bid for its first 6-0 start since 2011 will have to wait another year as the Broncbusters drop to 1-1 in the Jayhawk and 5-1 on the early season. Next up for Barton will be a return trip to the friendly confines on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. tip at the Barton Gym versus Butler Community College.

In a slow start for both teams, Garden City was first to find their stride coming out of 12-all tie midway through the half. A modest four point stretch gained separation until Sam Lorenzen knocked down the first of five treys on the night to tie it up at 20 with just over five to play. The Cougars would tie it up twice more before an Elijah Ford three-point play gave Barton their first lead in nearly eight minutes. Garden City would later bury its fourth three-pointer of the night to carry a five point lead to the break.

Lorenzen's second long range shot of the night got the Cougars out on the right foot early in the second but a 9-0 run seven minutes later keyed by two consecutive three-pointers by the Lansing, Kansas, native gave Barton the lead for the next three minutes. Reigning conference player of the week Kawanise "Squeaky" Wilkins provided the cap on the spurt draining one of his two long balls on the night and the Cougars lead 52-48 with 11:03 to play.

The fifth Lorenzen three-pointer put the lead at five going into the mid-point media timeout but the Cougars went cold in the next two minutes with Russhard Cruickshank knocking down his fifth triple leading a 6-0 Garden City run for a 56-55 lead.

Getting a Noah Webster jumper and Wilkins tip-in to regain the lead, Wilkins provided the back breaker with 4:31 to play with a top-of-the-arc three-ball giving Barton its largest lead of seven at 65-58. The Broncbusters stayed within reach with two more treys while the Cougars countered with two clutch Keshon Montague shots to maintain the lead at five. A pair of Webster free throws provided cushion with under a minute to play but three Barton failed attempts at the charity stripe left the door ajar with Kendale Hampton's corner trey cutting the margin to just one with .8 seconds on the clock. Montague connected on both his shots with Webster stealing the inbounds at half court to preserve the win.

Five Cougars reached double-digits with Lorenzen's 5-of-7 from behind the arc leading with fifteen points. Montague, who also dished out a team high five dimes, scored twelve points while Wilkins and Ford finished with eleven each and Akeem White contributing ten off the bench. Getting outrebounded by eleven including being outscored by seven points in second chance points, Marvin Cannon led Barton's effort with seven to go along with six points and two blocks.

Like Lorenzen, Cruickshank's five treys led to a team leading scoring night finishing with nineteen points. Hampton, who knocked down 4-of-7 behind the arc on the night including the late trey, contributed fourteen points off the bench while Pierre Johnson added twelve and game high six assists.

Having lost to Garden City at home last Saturday, Butler regrouped to even its conference mark and also picked up a big road conference victory with an 81-67 win at Seward County Community College Wednesday night in Liberal to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Other Game Notes:
- Barton has won 4-of-the-last-5 games in Garden City and avenges a 103-82 setback last season
- Barton leads the overall series 67-33 overall and 26-23 in Garden City
- Barton is 8-2 versus the Broncbusters in the last ten meetings
- Barton was 10-of-21 from behind the arc, marking the sixth straight game to make ten or more three pointers.