by Benny Benton
FRANKLIN SPRINGS, Ga. – Several long stretches of offensive struggles and a weak defensive effort in the second half doomed the Barton College men's basketball team to an 87-72 Conference Carolinas loss at Emmanuel College on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (10-9, 6-3) blew a seven-point first-half lead, then erased a seven-point deficit to regain a three-point advantage early in the second half. 42-39. However, BC managed just one field goal over the next three minutes, and Emmanuel (10-8, 4-4) went on a 13-2 run to take the lead for good, 52-44.
BC cut the margin to four, 52-48, on jumpers by Zach Grant and Jeff Gordon, but the Bulldogs went five more minutes without a field goal, and the Lions went on another 10-0 run to put the game away. The back-breaker for BC during the stretch was a contested 3-pointer made by Brandon Simpson while falling backwards and the shot clock expiring that gave EC a nine-point cushion.
Emmanuel shot 58 percent from the field in the second half (14 of 24) to reach 50 percent for the game (30 of 60). The Lions also forced Barton into 16 turnovers, including nine in the decisive second half.
Barton was paced by Gordon, a sophomore from Woodbridge, Va., who scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds. Isaiah Buck-Lowman added 16 points, 12 of those coming in the first half. Bobby Stenborg contributed team-highs of six rebounds and five assists to go with six points.
The Lions were led by Kendrick Colvin, who went 7-of-11 from the field and scored 17 points. Colvin also pulled down a game-high seven rebounds.
Emmanuel erased an early six-point lead for Barton to tie the game at 19-all, but consecutive three-point plays by Stenborg, a jumper by Gordon and a 3-pointer by Buck-Lowman gave BC its biggest lead of the game, 30-23, with 5:59 to go in the half.
However, Barton made just two field goals in eight attempts over the remainder of the period. Emmanuel used a 3-pointer by Elijah Robinson and a fast-break layup by Austin Greene to immediately cut the seven-point deficit down to two with 5:20 remaining before the break.
The Bulldogs still held the two-point lead at the final media time out of the half with 3:48 left, but Emmanuel scored the game's next nine points to post its own seven-point lead at 39-32 with 1:36 to play.
Gordon scored the final three points of the half on a jumper and a free throw to cut BC's deficit to 39-35 at intermission, then went on his own personal 7-0 run to start the second half and put Barton back in front, 42-39.
BC led for the last time at 44-43 on a basket by Buck-Lowman, but missed its next three shots – all from 3-point range – and turned the ball over twice, setting up Emmanuel to go on a 9-0 run and begin to pull away.
With the win, Emmanuel avenged a 95-78 loss to the Bulldogs in Wilson, N.C., in early December.
Barton will return home for its next contest on Tuesday, a 7:30 p.m. matchup with North Greenville University. The Crusaders defeated BC, 86-84, in overtime just last weekend in Tigerville, S.C.