by Doug Page
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – The Barton College men's basketball team erased an early 10-point deficit to hold a 38-33 halftime lead against Elizabeth City State University on Tuesday night, but the Vikings would out-score the Bulldogs in the second half to hang on for an 86-82 victory.
The Bulldogs (0-3) led by as many as 11 points on two separate occasions in the second-half but couldn't stop the three-point shooting from Elizabeth City, who improved to 2-1 on the season. The Vikings went 5-of-10 from downtown in the half and 9-for-22 in the game, including a 4-for-7 performance from John Maynor.
Sophomore Jeff Gordon went 6-of-9 from the floor, while junior Bobby Stenborg went 5-of-7 from the floor and 6-of-10 at the free-throw line, as both scored a team-high 16 points for the Bulldogs. Junior Zach Grant tallied a season-high 14 points for BC, going 5-of-9 from the field. Sophomore Michael Boykin added 12 points and freshman Jake Kakar dropped a career-high 12 points, going 2-of-4 from downtown.
The Vikings were led by a game-high 22 points from Maynor, who finished 8-of-14 from the field. Zaccheus Hobbs added 19 points for Elizabeth City, while Corey Mendez went 9-of-12 from the free-throw line. Shyheid Petteway went 8-of-11 from the charity stripe and pulled-down a team-high six rebounds for the Vikings.
Boykin gave the Bulldogs an early lead, driving the lane for a layup to make it 5-4 BC. Three minutes later, Maynor connected on his second trey of the half to give Elizabeth City a 12-7 advantage. The Vikings then went on a 7-0 run to up their lead to 19-9 following a three from Petteway.
Barton eventually worked its way back into the game as sophomore Isaiah Buck-Lowman finished a layup with 6:33 remaining to trim the deficit to 23-22. With the Vikings leading 25-22, Grant drained a trey for BC to knot the score. Buck-Lowman followed with a three of his own to give the Bulldogs a 28-25 lead with just over five minutes left in the half.
With less than a minute remaining in the half, Gordon would give the Bulldogs a 38-30 lead but quickly see that lead trimmed to five as Hobbs sank a three-pointer for the Vikings with the clock hitting zero.
The Bulldogs shot 48.6 percent as a team in the first-half, while the Vikings went 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) from the floor.
Grant tallied the first points of the second-half for BC, connecting on a layup and drawing a foul in the process. Grant converted his free-throw to give the Bulldogs a 41-33 lead and momentum moving forward. With 17:21 remaining in the contest, Grant extended the Barton lead to 48-37, its largest of the night.
Elizabeth City started its rally with 11:18 remaining as Hobbs connected on back-to-back three-pointers to knot the score, 58-58. Hobbs then gave the Vikings a one-point cushion by going 1-of-2 at the line. Trips to the charity-stripe would be big for the Vikings down the stretch as 14 of their final 27 points on the night came via the free-throw.
A foul by the Vikings with seven seconds left on the clock sent Gordon to the line for Barton. Gordon hit both of his shots to trim the Elizabeth City lead to 84-82. Following a timeout by the Bulldogs, Hobbs would go to the line for the Vikings after being fouled by Boykin. Hitting both shots, he gave the Vikings an 86-82 lead, which would hold as Grant missed on a three-point attempt for BC at the buzzer.
The Bulldogs went 31-of-69 from the field in the contest and 15-of-23 at the free-throw line, while Elizabeth City went 24-of-53 from the floor and 29-of-37 from the charity stripe. Barton held a 49-36 edge in rebounds on the night, while both teams recorded seven assists.
Barton is back in action this weekend as it heads to Mount Olive, N.C. to participate in the Pickle Classic, hosted by the University of Mount Olive. The Bulldogs face Virginia Union on Friday night at 5 p.m. and Saint Augustine's on Saturday night at 5 p.m.