Glimpses of the old fashioned Jayhawk battles from yesteryear, the Barton Community College men's basketball won a spirited contest Wednesday evening at the Barton Gym as the 18th ranked Cougars held off Northwest Kansas Technical College for a 101-94 victory.
Winning their sixth straight, Barton remains in the shadow of the league race improving to 13-4 and 22-4 on the season in dropping Northwest Tech to 4-13 and 12-14. The Cougars' victory also sets up a Saturday showdown for Barton's regular season home finale as 17th ranked and conference leading Seward County Community College comes to the Barton Gym with title implications on the line in the 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Leondre Washington popped 5-of-7 from beyond the arc in first half action of his career night but the Cougars' seven point first half lead ended up in a 43-all deadlock heading to halftime.
Elijah Ford's personal six straight points gained Barton separation in the first two minutes of the second frame after Northwest had tied the contest for the final time with 19:39 to play.
An 8-0 Maverick run midway through the half made things interesting to cut the margin to just three with 9:31 to play. Ninety seconds later the game turned for good as Anthony Atkinson-Enneking's gutty defensive rebound resulted in a tug of war battle with the Mavericks' Justin Blunt. With Enneking being tossed to the ground in the scuffle for the ball, Blunt picked up the personal foul with a subsequent technical foul called as well. The technical foul was Blunt's second of the game having been involved with Washington and Akeem White seven minutes into the contest on a half court loose ball wrestling match. Northwest's bench wasn't too pleased with the call either as another technical was issued resulting in Barton going to the line for six free throws as the five made pushed the Cougars' lead to 73-62 with 8:10 left.
Ford grew the lead to a game high thirteen ten seconds later on the possession in slashing through the lane for two of his nineteen second half points.
Northwest wouldn't go away easily, rattling off seven straight in the next three minutes to cut the margin down to just six. Two minutes later the gap chipped down to four with 3:06 left but Ford's bucket and a pair of Martin Vogts jumpers owned the next seventy seconds to give Barton a double-digit lead with just under two to play. John Williams' layup and Diovonte Caldwell's charity tosses matched Barton's largest lead again, coming with forty-nine seconds left as Barton would complete the series sweep.
Eclipsing the 30-point mark for the second game in a row including coming a point shy of his career high last time on the court, the reigning conference player of the week reset his high with 1:19 remaining draining a pair of free throws for his 36th point. Five seconds later Washington fouled out for the first time in his career, leaving the court tied for the program's sixth most made free throws in a game sinking 15-of-16 from the stripe, to go along with 5-of-10 from beyond the arc, three assists, and a game high four steals.
Ford also had a stat stuffing game with his second straight and seventh double-double of the year in scoring twenty-four points and hauling down ten rebounds while swatting away three Maverick shots. Caldwell and Vogts each buried a pair of treys combining for a 4-of-6 effort to score fourteen and thirteen respectively.
Miles Gibson and Henry Hampton led four Mavericks in double figures accounting for twenty-three points each. Hampton, along with Chris Freeman's nineteen and Brandon Conwright's thirteen, each knocked down three shots behind the arc for all nine of Northwest's three pointers.
The Cougars' 46.9% shooting in the contest was the first time Barton was held under 50% from the field in the previous six games, the last coming on a 38% night in Liberal against Seward County. Barton recovered the misses with thirteen offensive rebounds to outboard the Mavericks by nine in the contest. Along with Washington's sixteen trips to the free throw line, the Cougars went to the stripe a season high forty-two times, sinking thirty-two for 76% while Northwest made 21-of-24 (87.5%) from the stripe.