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Cougars open West play with 105-74 rout of Dodge City
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Road wins aren’t easy to come by in Jayhawk West play. Road wins by 30 are even harder to come by. But that is exactly what the Barton Community College men’s basketball team did Monday night to open Jayhawk West play.
The Cougars traveled to Dodge City and put a whipping on the host Conquistadors turning the scoreboard to triple digits in a 105-74 win at the Civic Center.
“It’s a good way to start a tough stretch,” Coach Craig Fletchall said. “We have five games in 10 days and it is nice to start that with a road conference win.
I think it really helped our confidence that we had played one of our best games the year here (Civic Center) when we beat State Fair. Our kids came out with a lot of nervous angst and we played hard.”
Barton used a big run at the midway point of the opening half and never looked back improving to 13-2 overall and 1-0 in the Jayhawk West. Dodge City falls to 10-5 and 0-1.
Barton trailed 22-19 with 10 minutes left in the opening half when the Cougars went on a 14-3 run. A pair of treys from Ahmad Walker and Khalil Gracey started the run, giving Barton a lead it would not relinquish. Jalin Barnes followed with a lay-up and free throw and Christian Smith hit another trey.
It didn’t stop there. Barton pushed the lead to double figures at 41-29 with another Gracey trey. It reached 15 points on a Walker trey at 46-31 and Barton finished the opening 20 minutes with its eighth trey of the half when Barnes scored at the buzzer to give Barton a 53-33 lead.
Over the final 10 minute of the half the Cougars put 34 points on the board thanks in large part to a 7-of-9 effort behind the 3-point line. Barton shot 53 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, 54 percent on 3-poiners and 88 percent from the free throw line.
The Conquistadors were never able to get closer than 14 points in the second half and that came in the opening five minutes of the half. The lead grew to as high as 36 in the final 20 minutes for the Cougars as they coasted to the rare easy road blowout.
The Cougars shot the ball extremely well in the win hitting 38-of-66 from the floor for 58 percent. Barton knocked down 14-of-25 3-pointers and 15-of-17 free throws. Barton also scored 30 points off 18 Dodge City turnovers while turning the ball over just six times.
“It was really uncanny the way we shot the ball,” Coach Fletchall said. “I think half our team made a three-pointer. At halftime we only have two turnovers. That was pretty impressive.”
Walker led the way for the Cougars putting up 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 on treys. The sophomore guard added six rebounds and a team-high six assists. Barnes was close behind as the backcourt running mate of Walker added a career-high 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
“Ahmad has stepped his game up,” Coach Fletchall said. “He lived in the gym over break and really worked on his shot. I think some of the guys are starting to get it a little bit.
“Our sophomore guards are focused and a freshmen are getting better.”
Kenny Enoch added 13 and Gracey scored 12 off the bench as Barton’s backcourt poured in more than 90 points in the win.
George Brock led the Conquistadors with 20 points followed by 7-1 Payton Pervier with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Cougars, who had their original West opener Saturday with Seward at the Barton Gym wiped out due to weather, will have its West home opener Wednesday when Garden City comes to town. Garden City lost Monday at home to No. 8 ranked Hutchinson 69-60 to fall to 0-2 in the West. The Broncbusters will bring an 11-5 overall mark to the Barton Gym. Garden also lost at No. 5 ranked Butler in West play.
“Garden has had the worst schedule out of the gate,” Coach Fletchall said. “They have played two top 10 teams. They are very physical and very athletic. We don’t match up with the well physically.”