by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College men's basketball struggled with upset-minded Southern Wesleyan University for more than 25 minutes of Saturday's Conference Carolinas contest before finally pulling away to an 82-67 victory.
There were 12 ties and five lead changes in contest, and the Warriors (2-20, 1-12) led the game for nearly eight minutes of game action.
Southern Wesleyan trailed by just four at 47-43 following a pair of D.J. Dobson free throws with 14:41 to play before Barton (13-11, 9-5) took control by outscoring SWU 21-4 over the game's next eight minutes. Junior Bobby Stenborg scored 10 points during that stretch, with freshman Blake Burdack contributing six points and junior Matt Woods chipping in five.
Stenborg finished the contest with a game-high 26 points and eight rebounds. Michael Boykin posted 14 points, Burdark recorded 11 points and five rebounds, and Isaiah Buck-Lowman produced 10 points and seven boards.
The Warriors were paced by Jeremy Wert, who scored 24 points. Justice McCullough added a double-double of 13 points and game-high 16 rebounds, and Jacob Smith collected 11 points.
Just three days after recording one of the best 3-point shooting nights in NCAA Division II history (10 of 12, 83.3 percent), Barton matched its worst effort of the year from beyond the arc against the Warriors, making just 3 of 16 in the game (18.8 percent).
The Bulldogs overcame that by forcing the ball inside to Stenborg, Burdack and Buck-Lowman, and Barton completed play 44.1 percent from the field overall (30 of 68). Barton was also solid at the free throw line in the second half, making 13 of 18 attempts (72.2 percent).
Southern Wesleyan wasn't much better from 3-point range, making just 27.8 percent (5 of 18). SWU shot 42.4 percent overall (25 of 59) and was 12 of 17 from line in the contest (70.6 percent).
Barton held a slight edge in rebounding, 42 to 38, and forced the Warriors into 19 turnovers while committing just 10.
The contest was the final regular-season home game for the Bulldogs, which will close out the schedule with four straight games on the road, starting at Belmont Abbey College on Wednesday night.
In an unusual occurrence, Barton did not hold its typical Senior Day ceremony on Saturday, as the Bulldogs have no seniors on the roster.