For the first time this season the Barton men’s basketball lost back-to-back games. Courtesy a home loss Wednesday night to Colby the Cougars have now lost two straight.
Colby came to the Barton Gym and in front of a sparse crowd due to weather conditions won on the Cougars home floor for just the second time. Colby won the Jayhawk Conference contest, 66-58.
“I thought tonight was going to be one of those nights where the team that played the hardest won,” Coach Craig Fletchall said. “That was the case. I put that on myself. We are a team that plays hard, we just didn’t have it tonight.
“It is the first time we lost two in a row. We will see how we respond. I like our team.”
The loss dropped Barton into group of three in the conference with three losses. Barton is now 6-3 in the Jayhawk and 14-6 overall. Colby is right behind them at 6-4 and 13-7.
Neosho County still leads the conference at 8-2 with Hutchinson (7-3) and Pratt (6-3) also with three losses. Joining Colby with four losses is Barton most recent opponent Dodge City (5-4) and its next opponent Seward (5-4).
Wednesday against Colby, the Cougars came from double digits back to take the lead in the second half but couldn’t close out the Trojans and it costs them.
Barton trailed by 12 at half, 37-25, but whittled away at that lead. When Ezekiel Charles and John Barbee hit back-to-back treys the Cougars were back in striking distance. The six straight cut the lead to 41-38 with 15 minutes to play in the game.
Barton overtook Colby when Anthony Smith stole the ball and found Dequandre Dentmond a dunk. That gave Barton a 45-44 lead with 11:26 left.
Barton extended that lead to 50-46 on a Dentmond jumper a couple minutes later. Barton held the lead until a pair of free throws by Bilal Abdur-Rahim tied it at 52-all at the 6:47 mark. Abdur-Rahim capped off an 8-0 Colby run at 5:15 to give the Trojans a 56-52 lead.
Barton would not lead again. In fact, the Cougars scored just six points the final 7 1/2 minutes of the contest.
Barton put four players in double figures led by Charles and Derek Dorn with 13 each. Smith finished with 11 and Dentmond 10. Charles led Barton with eight rebounds.
Colby was paced by Brian Starr with 20 and Abdur-Rahim with 16.
The Cougars will look to get back on the winning track and stay in the race for the conference championship Saturday when Seward pays a visit to the Barton Gym.
The Saints bring a 5-4 conference mark and a 15-5 overall record. Seward had its 2-game winning streak snapped at Hutchinson Wednesday night. Hutch defeated Seward 96-91 at the Sports Arena.
Tip Saturday will be an early start, slated for 3:30 p.m.