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Cougars on short end of another close Jayhawk battle
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Those following the Barton’s men’s basketball team can’t complain about boring finishes lately. For the fourth straight game, the contest came down to the last shot. The Cougars were able to win those first two but they have been on the short end of the last two.
The second straight loss came at the Community Building in Colby Wednesday. Barton rallied from a double-digit deficit but came up short, 70-68.
The loss drops the Cougars to 9-7 and in a battle for the fifth spot in the Jayhawk Conference. Barton is 17-10 overall. Colby, who has now swept the Cougars, is also in that battle for fifth with an 8-7 mark. The Trojans are 15-10.
The game started out on a 7-0 Colby run and the Cougars would play catchup the rest of the way. The Trojans extended the lead to 19-8 and led by double figures at half, 42-32.
Colby kept that lead around 10 most of the second half leading by as many as 14. Barton still trailed by 10, 65-55, with less than three minutes to play in the contest.
A John Barbee 3-pointer made it 65-58 with 2:38 left and the rally was on. The Cougars had three straight possessions to trim the lead even further but couldn’t convert. Barbee eventually scored three the conventional way a minute later and following the three throw it was 66-61 with 1:15 left.
A pair of Derek Dorn free throws cut it to 67-63 with 1:12 to play. Barton trimmed it to 67-64 when Dequandre Dentmond made 1-of-2 free throws with 41 seconds left after being fouled on a defensive rebound.
Barbee continued to cut into the lead on a driving layup with 23.7 seconds left to make it 68-66. After missing a chance to tie on a 3-pointer, the Cougars stole the inbounds pass and Tyler Windholz was fouled on his shot attempt. He made both free throws and it was down to 69-68 with 7.8 seconds left.
For the fifth straight time, Colby made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with six seconds left and Barton had a chance to tie or win the game down 70-68.
Barbee took it the distance and went hard to the basket but wasn’t able to convert on his driving layup. A hurried running follow by Derek Dorn also missed and the buzzer sounded.
Barbee led the Cougars with a career-high 17. He was the only Cougar to reach double figures in the loss.
Barton turns its focus to another team battling for that fifth spot Saturday with a trip to Liberal. Seward County is 7-7 and losers of three straight. The latest was an 87-85 home loss to Jayhawk co-leader Hutchinson Wednesday.
The Cougars need a top eight finish for a first round home game. One more win would secure an opening game at the Barton Gym.