by Benny Benton
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – The Barton College men's basketball team posted its fifth straight victory on Monday night by claiming a 68-56 road victory at Elizabeth City State University.
Barton (7-3), which has now won seven of its last eight overall, received 17 points from freshman Isaiah Buck-Lowman and 10 points from sophomore Matt Woods in completing a season sweep of the Vikings (1-10).
Monday's contest was much different than BC's 106-87 win in Wilson back on December 6, when the Bulldogs scored 55 points in the first half alone.
Although Barton shot nearly 50 percent from the field (22 of 47), there were far fewer possessions in Monday's meeting. There were also far few rebounds for the Bulldogs, who collected just 19 on the night, their lowest total in at least seven years.
Elizabeth City State, by contrast, produced 37 rebounds, but Barton forced the Vikings into 15 turnovers, 10 of those coming on steals by the Bulldogs.
After Barton missed three of its first four shots, the Vikings jumped out to a quick 9-2 advantage less than four minutes into the game. But ECSU missed its next five attempts from the field, and Barton went on a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the night at 11-9 on a layup by Miguel Brown with 12:32 left in the half.
The two teams were tied at 20-all when the Bulldogs went on another 9-0 spurt that included a pair of free throws by Michael Boykin, a traditional three-point play by Buck-Lowman, a 3-pointer by Tyler Thayer and a free throw by Zach Grant.
Barton took that same nine-point cushion to intermission, 33-24, and expanded its lead to as many as 13 points on a layup by Brown with 16:17 to play.
The Bulldogs were still up 10 at 48-38 with 10:24 to go when the Vikings received four points from Kyree Marshall during a 6-0 ECSU run that cut the Barton lead to just four at 48-44 with 8:51 to play.
The two sides traded baskets to keep the margin at four, 50-46, when a three-point play by Buck-Lowman and a 3-pointer by Woods put the Bulldogs back up by double-digits, where they would remain for the final five minutes of the contest.
Barton hit 8 of 10 free throw attempts in the last five minutes, and finished the night 19 of 23 from the charity stripe. It marked the third straight game in which BC shot 80 percent or better from the line.
Elizabeth City State was also accurate from the stripe, making 79 percent, but it did so on fewer attempts (11 of 14).
The Vikings were led in the contest by 13 points and nine rebounds from Jordan Jones. Marshall and Shyhied Petteway each added 10 points in a losing cause.
Thayer contributed nine points in Barton's win, all from 3-point range, while Brown and Boykin each chipped in eight. Brown also led BC with five rebounds, and Boykin added a team-high four assists.
The game was the last one for Barton before the holiday break. The Bulldogs will return to action on New Year's Eve, when they will visit regionally-ranked UNC Pembroke for a 2 p.m. contest. Barton edged UNCP 83-82 in Wilson on December 10.