by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College avenged an overtime loss at North Greenville University ten days ago by posting a 75-63 Conference Carolinas men's basketball victory Tuesday night in Wilson Gymnasium.
The Bulldogs (11-9, 7-3) gave up 77 percent shooting from the field to the Crusaders in the second half of the 86-84 defeat on January 13, but held North Greenville to just 39 percent (24 of 61) overall this time around, including 26 percent from 3-point range (6 of 23).
NGU junior Daniel Burchette, who hung 30 on Barton in the meeting in Tigerville, S.C, was limited to just five points Tuesday.
Stenborg finished the contest with a game-high 18 points and five rebounds. Isaiah Buck-Lowman contributed 17 points and eight rebounds, and Gordon completed play with 15 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Michael Boykin also reached double-figures with 13 points, chipping in seven rebounds and four assists as well.
The Crusaders were led by DJ Brooks, who had 17 points. Roderick Howell contributed 12 points and a game-high 15 rebounds in the losing cause.
North Greenville grabbed an early 7-2 advantage, its biggest of the night, before Barton took its first lead at 12-11 on a 3-pointer by Gordon.
The two sides swapped the lead six times and produced four ties before the Bulldogs moved in front to stay on another 3-pointer by Gordon with 7:38 left in the first half. Stenborg and Boykin followed with layups, completing a 7-0 run that put BC up six at 27-21.
Barton went up by as many as eight points and NGU cut the margin to as few as four before the two sides went to intermission with BC leading by six, 39-33.
North Greenville trimmed another eight-point advantage for the Bulldogs early in the second half down to just three at 46-43 on a put-back by Howell with 14:42 to play, but consecutive layups by Stenborg stopped North Greenville's momentum.
Matt Moore answered with a basket that cut the NGU deficit to five at 50-45. However, Barton used its pressure defense to force the Crusaders into three straight turnovers, and turned the miscues into a layup by Gordon, a jumper by Isaiah Reddish and a 3-pointer by Matt Woods that put BC up by double-digits for the first time, 57-45, with 11:24 to go.
NGU closed to within eight with 4:31 left on a 3-pointer by Brooks, but Chris Cook came off the bench to provide Barton a spark with a layup, a blocked shot and two rebounds over the next minute.
The Crusaders cut the deficit to single digits again with 43 seconds to play, but Barton made all six of its free throws inside the final minute to seal the victory. The Bulldogs were 11 of 13 from the free throw line in the second half (85 percent) and 14 of 17 for the contest (82 percent).
Barton forced NGU into 16 turnovers while committing just 11, and also out-rebounded the Crusaders by one, 37-36.
The victory moved BC back into sole possession of second place in the league, a half-game ahead of King University and a whole game in front of Lees-McRae College.
The Bulldogs will face both those teams on consecutive days this weekend during a challenging road trip. Barton will travel to King on Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. contest, then visit Lees-McRae on Saturday afternoon for a 4 p.m. meeting.