by Benny Benton
MISENHEIMER, N.C. – Pfeiffer University received 33 points from senior guard Andrew Guerrero and forced Barton College into a season-high 22 turnovers in taking a 97-81 Conference Carolinas men's basketball victory Tuesday night.
With the win, the Falcons (21-3, 14-3) completed a season sweep of the Bulldogs (16-7, 11-4) and kept pace with Limestone College at the top of the league standings. Barton, meanwhile, slipped two full games behind those two teams with five regular-season games remaining.
Barton senior Daniel Westbrook recorded his first double-double of the year before halftime, and finished the game with 20 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in a losing cause for the Bulldogs.
After falling behind by as many as 11 points midway through the first half following a series of missed shots and turnovers, Barton closed to within three at 38-35 with 1:14 to go in the period on Nick Ellison's second straight layup. However, the Falcons scored the final five points of the half to take an eight-point cushion into intermission, 43-35.
The Bulldogs missed their first four shots of the second half while the Falcons made the first three of theirs, putting Pfeiffer comfortably in front just two minutes into the final period.
Trailing by 16 points with 14 minutes left, Barton used three straight 3-pointers by Tyler Thayer to briefly climb back within single digits, but Guerrero answered with four straight 3-pointers for the Falcons to push the Pfeiffer lead to 19 at 76-57, with 9:15 to play.
Guerrero made 9-of-12 attempts from beyond the 3-point line in his stellar night.
Despite Guerrero's play, Barton was still able to hold the nation's highest scoring team under 100 points for just the fifth time in the last 21 games. The Bulldogs limited Pfeiffer to 47 percent shooting (37 of 79) and outrebounded the Falcons 49 to 40.
However, Pfeiffer also leads the nation in turnovers forced per game at 24.3, and the Falcons collected 22 against the Bulldogs, turning them into 27 points. Barton created just nine turnovers against Pfeiffer and gained eight points off of them.
Barton entered the game as the conference leader in fewest turnovers per game, averaging just 12.0 per contest, but handed the ball over 13 times in the first half alone on Tuesday. Barton also committed 20 in the two teams' meeting last week in Wilson, which was the previous high for the year.
Pfeiffer produced 13 steals in the game, led by four from Josh Calhoun, who was also one of five players who scored in double-figures for the Falcons.
Barton will make the final stop on its three-game road swing Saturday when it visits Banner Elk, N.C., to take on Lees-McRae College in a 4 p.m. matchup.