The new Jayhawk Conference format has worked out quite well for to the Barton’s men’s basketball team. The Cougars closed out the 3-game conference stretch prior to the Christmas Break with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Barton put that in the books with a 75-65 win over Cowley Saturday at the Barton Gym. The Cougars will head to the break at 11-3 overall and one of three teams unbeaten in the conference. Hutchinson is 4-0 while Barton and Colby are both 3-0.
“After four great halves on energy on the road you sometimes worry if you team will have a letdown when you get home,” Coach Craig Fletchall said. “We were able to avoid that and get us a big win. Especially with finals being over and several of these kids flying out the next day. The kept their focus.”
Cowley fell to 1-3 in the conference and 9-6 overall.
Barton led from the start in the win Saturday. The Cougars trailed 3-0 and 10-8. Barton went on a quick 6-0 run capped by a pair of Anthony Smith free throws for an 18-12 lead with 9:47 left in the first half. Barton would not trail again.
The lead grew to double figures late in the half and up to 43-29 at intermission.
Barton lead by as many as 18 early in the second half. Cowley was able to get the lead under 10 on a few occasions in the second half but never got closer than eight.
Keith Mack led Barton with 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor. Ezekiel Charles added 16 and Derek Dorn 14. Dorn, the Cougars’ point guard, had just one turnover in 39 minutes of play.
A big difference in the game was at the free throw line as the Cougars hit 21-of-31 while Cowley shot just 4-of-7. The Tigers played much of the game on the perimeter, shooting 26 3-pointers and hitting 13. Barton was just 2-of-14 behind the arc. Exactly half of Cowley’s shot were 3-pointers.
Barton meanwhile worked the ball inside more with 44 2-point shots to the just those 14 treys. That style allowed the Cougars rack up the free throw advantage as well.
“We knew they were going to shoot the three,” Coach Fletchall said. “It’s what they do. It was important for us not to rely on the outside shot and take the ball to the hole.”
Cowley was led by Terell Gandy with 16 points on 4-of-5 3-point shooting.
Barton will be off until Jan. 2 when the Cougars return with yet another road game. Barton will travel to Iola to take on Allen County in a 4 p.m. tip.
From that game forward the Cougars will play every Wednesday and Saturday with a Monday date thrown in the rest of the way.