by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College men's basketball team opened it 2017-18 campaign on Friday night against Young Harris College in the 45 Second Classic at the Wilson Gym. The Bulldogs held a 45-38 lead at the half but saw the Mountain Lions record an 84-75 victory after a strong second half.
The Bulldogs drop to 0-1 on the season and will face Augusta University on the second day of the 45 Second Classic. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will follow the completion of the University of Mount Olive and Young Harris contest that will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The Mountain Lions improve to 1-0 on the season and will face a Trojans squad that dropped a 76-75 decision against the Jaguars.
Junior Bobby Stenborg went 9-of-11 from the floor and added five rebounds in 32-minutes of action for Barton, scoring a team-high 22 points. Sophomore Michael Boykin tallied 22 points off the bench for BC, going 10-of-21 from the field with four rebounds. Sophomore Jeff Gordon added 14 points for the Bulldogs and registered a team-high six rebounds in 28-minutes of action.
Young Harris was led by a game-high 27 points from J.B. Charles, who finished 6-of-11 from the field and 5-of-8 from downtown. Charles also went 10-of-13 at the charity stripe and tallied nine rebounds, while Antonio Wade added 20 points for the Mountain Lions. Ben Waterhouse (14 points) and Nicksen Blanc (11 points) rounded out the other two double-digit scoring performances for Young Harris. James Laput pulled-down a game-high 15 rebounds, as Young Harris recorded 54 in the contest.
The Mountain Lions would score the opening nine points of the contest, following a pair of made free-throws from Charles. Boykin got Barton on the scoreboard at the 17:24 mark as his layup sparked a 6-0 run for the Bulldogs. Stenborg trimmed the Young Harris lead to 9-6 after converting a layup from in close.
A three-pointer from Charles upped the Mountain Lions' lead to 20-11 but would be countered by a run from the Bulldogs. Freshman Jake Kakar scored his first points of his collegiate career to make it 20-13 and would be followed by a trey from Sophomore Isaiah Buck-Lowman.
Barton took its first lead of the contest at the 7:54 mark of the first half as Kakar hit a three to give BC a 26-25 advantage. The Bulldogs opened a four-point cushion thanks to a three-pointer from Boykin. He would then stretch the BC lead to 37-31 with a dunk that led to a timeout from the Mountain Lions. The Bulldogs took a 45-38 lead into the half after shooting 15-of-31 (48.4 %) from the field and 11-of-12 (91.7 %) from the free-throw line.
The second half would go a little differently for both sides, as Young Harris battled-back in the contest after falling behind 49-40. Laput connected on his lone bucket of the night to trim the BC lead to 50-45 and would be followed by a layup from Waterhouse that led the Bulldogs to call for a timeout.
With the lead changing hands several times, Stenborg knotted the score 58-58 with a dunk at the 12:51 mark, sending the crowd at Wilson Gym into a frenzy. That would be the last time fans would see the score knotted, as Young Harris controlled the tempo the rest of the way.
Barton's best opportunity to tie the game came after a layup from Boykin with 2:26 left as he trimmed the Mountains Lions' lead to 73-71. Young Harris did its part from the charity stripe as the game closed, scoring nine points over final 2:44.
Young Harris went 15-of-33 (45.5%) from the field in the second half and 13-23 at the free-throw line, while Barton went 13-of-37 (35.1%) from the floor and 0-of-6 from downtown. The Mountain Lions finished the game 25-of-64 from the field and 7-of-18 from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs went 28-of-68 from the floor and 4-of-16 from downtown in the contest. Young Harris out-rebounded BC 54-39 and dished-out 11 assists, while the Bulldogs forced the Mountain Lions into 16 turnovers and tallied nine steals.