Things were not looking good for the Barton Community College men’s basketball team late in the opening half of its Jayhawk West home opener Wednesday night at the Barton Gym.
The Cougars found themselves facing an 18-point deficit with just more than two minutes to play in the half. But that didn’t faze the resilient group. Barton closed out the first half on a 10-0 run then opened the second half on another 16-6 run to overtake visiting Garden City.
Barton continued to press down on the gas pedal on the way to an 81-69 win over the Broncbusters to stay unbeaten in the early stages of the conference season.
The win moved the Cougars to 2-0 in the West and 14-2 overall on the season. Barton is one of three unbeaten teams left along with Butler College and Pratt – both 2-0 as well. One more team will drop from the unbeaten ranks when Barton travels to Butler Saturday. Garden City fell to 0-3 and 11-6.
“I told the team if we can get it below 10 we can win it,” Coach Craig Fletchall said of his team’s 18-point hole late in the opening half. “I don’t profess to a profit but in this case I was right.
“That gave us some momentum heading into halftime and we came out to start the second half and kept that going.”
The depth of the first woes reached 18 points when Garden took a 39-21 lead on the Cougars with 2:30 left in the opening 20 minutes. But that 10-0 run was the spark the Cougars needed.
The Cougars continued to score points in bunches to open the second and when Kenny Enoch knocked down a 3-pointer with just less than 15 minutes to play in the game, Barton had overcome the entire deficit and took a 47-45 lead.
The teams traded the lead over the next six minutes before Barton began to put some distance between the teams.
The Cougars got the lead to double figures with just less than five minutes to play and kept that margin intact for the win.
Ahmad Walker continued his great play with 25 points, seven rebounds, and six assists – all team highs for the Cougars. Walker knocked down 6-of-11 shots from the floor and added an impressive 12-of-13 effort at the charity stripe.
Three more Cougars joined Walker with double figures as Jalin Barnes added 13, Enoch and Khalil Gracey scored 11 each as the Cougars’ guard once again led the way.
Garden City was led by Jeremee Bennett with 17 and Davon Anderson with 16.
Barton know turns focus unbeaten and fourth ranked Butler. The Grizzlies earned a big road win at No. 6 Hutchinson Wednesday 72-62 to remain unbeaten at 16-0. Tip at the Power Plant in El Dorado is slated for 4 pm in an afternoon tilt.
“Butler is good,” Coach Fletchall said. “They are coming off a win on the road against a Top 10 team. It will be a good test to see just how we compare against one of the top ranked teams in the country on their home floor.”