by Doug Page
TIGERVILLE, S.C. – The Barton College men's basketball team held a 30-29 first-half lead and rallied to send its match against North Greenville University into overtime after sophomore Jeff Gordon hit a corner three-pointer with time expiring. The Crusaders would come away with the 86-84 overtime victory in Conference Carolinas action on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (9-8, 5-2) dropped their second-straight conference matchup this season after surrendering eight three-pointers to the Crusaders. North Greenville (6-9, 2-5) got a 30-point performance from Daniel Burchette, who finished the game 11-of-16 from the field and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Gordon notched a team-high 22 points for Barton, finishing 9-of-15 from the floor to go along with a team-high eight rebounds. Junior Bobby Stenborg tallied 17 points and five rebounds for BC, going 7-of-11 from the floor. Sophomore Michael Boykin added 14 points for Barton, while sophomore Isaiah Buck-Lowman tallied 13 points for the Bulldogs.
The Crusaders were paced by Burchette's 30 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Matt Moore added 18 points and went 4-of-6 from downtown for NGU, while Jalon Cokley tallied 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and a 2-of-4 effort from downtown.
Overtime saw the Bulldogs take a quick 74-72 lead following a layup by Buck-Lowman. Burchette then went on a run for the Crusaders, scoring six-straight points to give NGU a 78-74 lead with 3:20 remaining in the extra frame. Barton rallied once-again as Boykin and junior Zach Grant hit back-to-back buckets to knot the score at 78-78 with 2:36 left. The Bulldogs connected on consecutive three's as Gordon and Grant gave BC an 84-82 lead with just over a minute remaining. Roderick Howell tied the score with 39 seconds left to play and following a BC turnover, Burchette hit the game-winning layup with four seconds remaining to seal the victory for NGU.
North Greenville got an offensive spark from Moore in the first half as he went 4-of-5 from downtown to keep the Crusaders on pace with the Bulldogs. Four other NGU players would combine to go 0-for-7 from three-point range in the half. Barton would leave plenty of good scoring opportunities on the floor, shooting just 33.3 percent as a team. Stenborg paced BC with eight points as he went 3-of-5 from the field. Gordon and Boykin combined to go 4-of-13 from the field in the half.
Gordon found his stride offensively for Barton in the second half, going 6-of-7 from the floor and 1-of-1 at the charity stripe to lead the Bulldogs with 14 points. BC also received a big performance inside the paint from Stenborg, who went 4-of-6 from the field to keep the Bulldogs in the game. The difference on the scoreboard would again come from downtown as NGU went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, while Barton went 2-for-8. The Crusaders saw Cokley hit both of his three-pointers to go along with a 3-for-4 effort from the floor. NGU also got 14 points from Burchette, who missed just one shot in the half, going 5-of-6 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.
The Crusaders shot 77.3 percent from the field as a team in the second half, going 17-of-22. Barton hit its shots when needed, scoring at a 53.1 percent clip in the half on 17-of-32 shooting.
Barton had one of its best games this season in terms of committing turnovers as NGU took the ball away from BC just seven times, while the Bulldogs forced the Crusaders into 16 turnovers. BC out-scored NGU 25-8 in points off turnovers while also holding an advantage in rebounds (35-31) and second-chance points (21-1). The Bulldogs also out-scored the Crusaders 50-40 in the paint.
Barton continues its three-game road trip by making a visit to Southern Wesleyan University on Jan. 15 for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off against the Warriors.