by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College shot a torrid 68.6 percent from the field Wednesday night in claiming a 96-76 Conference Carolinas men's basketball victory over visiting Limestone College.
Barton (12-11, 8-5) only scored 38 of its 96 points in the paint, meaning BC was making much more than layups. Indeed, the Bulldogs drained 10-of-12 attempts from 3-point range (83.3 percent), matching three other schools with the sixth-best percentage in NCAA Division II history.
Everyone had a hot hand for the Bulldogs, as seven different players reached double-figures in scoring, all of them doing so while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor.
Junior Zach Grant and sophomore Isaiah Buck-Lowman both scored 16 points to pace Barton. Junior Bobby Stenborg contributed a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, and also added three assists and a game-high three steals.
Limestone (10-12, 6-7) shot a very respectable 50 percent from the field (31 of 62), which on most nights would have put them in position for a win. However, the Saints could not match the results being produced by the Bulldogs, which went 35-of-51 from the floor.
T.J. Sheppard paced Limestone with 18 points. Macoumba Kane added 17 points, Kenny Hairston chipped in 15 and Jaquan Simms contributed 12 in the loss.
Although the Saints held the lead for just 30 seconds in the contest, most of the first half was close. Barton turned a three-point lead into a nine-point cushion midway through the first half with a 6-0 run, but Limestone was back within three at 27-24 following a Simms 3-pointer with just over eight minutes left in the half.
Barton moved back up by seven at 36-29 on a Buck-Lowman jumper, but the Saints went used a 3-pointer by Sheppard, a steal and layup by Simms, and another 3-pointer by Kane to storm into the lead, 37-36, with 3:08 remaining before intermission.
However, BC held Limestone without a point for the next two and a half minutes. A jumper by Gordon and layups by Burdack, Grant and Woods comprised an 8-0 run that put the Bulldogs back in front by seven, and a 3-pointer by Burdack at the end of the half sent Barton to the locker rooms with a 47-39 cushion.
Limestone trailed by just four at 60-56 following a 3-pointer by Hairston with 13:53 to go, but Grant answered with a 3-pointer of his own on the other end. The Saints scored just three points over the game's next six and a half minutes, and Barton added 3-pointers by Buck-Lowman, Jake Kakar and Woods on its way to an 18-point lead with 7:25 to play.
With Barton offering Limestone few opportunities for a defensive rebound, the Bulldogs enjoyed a 31 to 23 edge on the glass. Limestone won the turnover battle, 9 to 11.
Barton, now 8-4 at home this season, will host its final home game of the regular-season on Saturday when it hosts Southern Wesleyan University in a 4 p.m. league matchup.