Cougars win battle of nationally ranked teams

In a Jayhawk West battle of nationally ranked teams, the No. 14 ranked Barton Community College men’s basketball team never trailed in the contest and went on to defeat No. 19 ranked Hutchinson Community College 93-71 Wednesday night at the Barton Gym.  After starting the conference season with two straight losses, the Cougars have won three straight to move up to a third place tie in the West standings at 3-2 and improving to 17-2 overall.  Losing its second straight conference game, Hutchinson drops to 1-3 in the West and 14-4 overall.  The Cougars will have a week off before they are back in action January 25 when they travel to Colby in another Jayhawk West battle.

The Cougars set the tone from the first possession.  After Hutchinson won the opening tip, the quick hands of Algie Key created a steal and drew a hoop-n-harm to quickly give Barton a 3-0 lead.  After Hutch tied the game at 3, the two teams traded 7-0 runs to tie the game at ten.  It was the second time the game would be tied in the first five minutes but would also be the last time it would be tied as well. 

After the media timeout with 9:51 remaining, a Turon Parker three-pointer triggered a 9-0 Barton run to break open the first half giving Barton a 27-16 advantage with 7:29 to play.  The Dragons’ Mark Braden would cut the deficit to eight with a three pointer but Barton would answer with another 11-2 run capped by a Kurt Walker three-pointer to give Barton its largest lead of the half at seventeen points with 2:48 remaining.

Controlling the paint with a 18-8 advantage and forcing 14 turnovers, Barton would take a 44-30 lead to the halftime break.  Despite near identical 52% field goal shooting in the first half, the difference between the teams was the Cougars aggressive and opportunistic play.

Unlike some previous games for the Cougars, Barton showed no sign of letting the Dragons back into the game.  Barton extended their lead in the first ten minutes of the half until Hutchinson finally worked it back to the fourteen point deficit at 67-53.  It was the closest Hutchinson would get as Barton would go on a 12-0 run in the next two and a half minutes to extend the lead to twenty-six at 79-53 with 6:31 remaining.

With the lead dipping to nineteen with 3:40 to play, Barton continued to knock down shots and convert free throws for the eventual twenty-two point win. 

The Cougars had four players in double-digit scoring with all ten players scoring at least two points.  Freshman Algie Key again led the Cougars in scoring with 21 points while Carl Wallace scored in double figures for his ninth straight game he just missed a double-double with 18 points and 9 assists.  Dwayne Brunson, who hadn’t played the last two games, picked up right where he left off with 14 points and 10 rebounds.  Turon Parker’s 4-of-4 performance from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line netted him 13 points for the game. 

Alex Davis came off the bench to lead four Hutchinson players in double figures with 17 points.  Mark Braden, the Blue Dragons season leading scorer, finished with 14 points while Michael Spease and Jack Pyle each finished with 11 points. 

Both teams shot over 50% from the field as the Cougars shot 57.6% from the field on 34-of-59 shots while Hutchinson connected on 25-of-48 shots for 52.1%.  Barton, who leads the West in all rebounding statistics, won the battle of the boards 36 to 27 and controlled the paint with a 44-24 scoring advantage.

Complete stats

Released:  January 19, 2012

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