As the women did in the first game of Monday's doubleheader in Colby, the Barton Community College men's basketball team also rebounded from a disappointing Saturday loss to pick up a big Jayhawk West road victory in defeating host Colby Community College 82-73 at the Community Building to also split the season series.
The 18th ranked Cougars assured themselves of no less than a third seed out of the West with two road games remaining on the regular season schedule. Now 14-5 in conference play and 23-5 overall, the second place Cougars head to third place Hutchinson Community College on Wednesday as the nationally receiving votes Blue Dragons sit a game behind at 13-6 and 22-6 on the year. Colby drops its third straight in needing help to climb out of the fifth spot at 11-8 and 16-12 overall.
Coming off a dismal second half shooting night on Saturday, Barton came out on fire Monday night by scoring the first six points before holding a pair of seven point leads behind six early points from Elijah Ford.
The Trojans recovered from the 10-3 deficit to take their first lead coming at the thirteen minute mark by outscoring the Cougars 8-2 in the stretch. Another six straight increased the lead before Ford and Leondre Washington buckets cut the deficit to two by the media timeout.
Colby held a four point lead for most of the rest of the half until late when things temporarily went haywire for the Cougars. Receiving the short end of a couple of calls in the final three minutes, a whistle going against Washington under twenty seconds to play for an illegal screen, despite getting knocked to the floor, drew the ire of Head Coach Craig Fletchall resulting in a technical foul. The Trojans sank the free throws before sticking a bow on the half by burying a three pointer at the buzzer for a 7-0 closeout and ten point 39-29 edge to the locker room.
Led by five straight from John Williams out of the halftime break, the resurgent Cougars would rattle off another six straight after a Colby bucket to close within three. Outscoring the Trojans by nine in the first seven minutes to knock on the lead change door, big time assists from Martin Vogts and Washington leading to Ford and Breontae Hunt tough shots in the paint loosened the hinges as Hunt's offensive rebound tip-in knocked the door down on the next possession putting the Cougars in front 56-55 with 9:24 to play.
Colby fired back with a triple but Ford had the answer, knocking down just his third shot behind the arc on the season to regain the lead. A pair of Trojan free throws gave Colby its last lead as Williams' floater in the lane with 6:57 put the visitors ahead on the scoreboard for the rest of the night.
The Trojans came up empty on consecutive possessions with Washington adding two free throws on the next Barton trip down the floor before providing a Midas brake commercial in locking up the sneakers as two Colby defenders flew by to knock down an easy low block jumper for a five point lead with five to play.
Keeping the Trojans in a two possession reach for the next three minutes, Williams grabbed the hammer to start driving in the coffin nails by burying a three-pointer in front of the Cougar bench for a nine point advantage with 1:54 left.
The remaining two minutes were filled with free throws and lay up drills with the Trojans chipping away to trail by five with twenty seconds but the Cougars' Diovonte Caldwell and Ford sunk a pair of free throws each down the stretch to secure the win.
Ford led the Cougars in flirting with a double-double of twenty-one points and eight rebounds. Washington also nearly completed the double feat scoring twenty points with nine board to go along with three assists. Williams finished up with sixteen as White rounded out the two digit scorers with twelve.