The Barton Community College men’s basketball team led virtually wire-to-wire Wednesday night at the Sports Arena knocking off No. 21 Hutchinson Community College 86-73. Trailing 1-0 two minutes into the contest, the Cougars turned the tides building a twenty-point first half lead going on to sweep the season series and win for the second straight year in the Sports Arena. Barton remains in the hunt for a Jayhawk West title just a half game behind Butler Community College while solidifying its hold on second place at 10-3 and 22-5 overall and dropping the Blue Dragons into a third place tie at 7-5 and 20-6 overall. Winning four straight within its tough four-game seven-day stretch, the Cougars will get a much needed week’s rest before hosting Colby Community College at 7:30 p.m. on Homecoming festivity night taking place on Wednesday, February 18.
The season sweep was the first time since 1999 Barton had done so as the Cougars actually swept Hutchinson in the 2003 season but due to NJCAA sanctions were forced to forfeit the wins. Having won 87-82 last season at the Sports Arena, the victory also marks the first time Barton had won consecutive games in Hutchinson except for the forfeited three-game stretch running from the 1998-2001 seasons.
Having led all but fifty-six seconds in the team’s first meeting, Eddie Hunt‘s jumper erased Hutchinson’s only lead of the game giving Barton a 2-1 advantage 2:41 into the game. The Cougars would go on to score eight straight more in blowing open the game early racing out to a 21-4 lead. Barton extended the lead out to twenty points three more times before a Hutchinson 8-0 run closed the gap to 36-24 at halftime.
Barton maintained a double-digit lead until a 9-0 run by the Blue Dragons cut the deficit to seven with 11:09 to play. Jumpers by Tyron Hamby and Jalin Barnes coupled by a Kenny Enoch trey going into the 9:11 media timeout increased the lead back out to 61-49.
An 8-0 run out of the timeout brought Hutchinson to within four with six minutes to play. The Blue Dragons came within four two more times including at the 4:13 mark but a Khalil Gracey trey nine seconds later pushed the lead out to seven for the closest Hutchinson would come the rest of the way.
As a team the Cougars shot 47.3% on the top rated defensive team including 52.9% from beyond the arc (9-of-17). Outside of Ahmed’s seven, the Cougars held the rest of the Hutchinson squad to 2-of-14 beyond the arc to finish overall from the field at only 39.3%. Barton also took advantage of its charity opportunities sinking 25-of-29 (86.2%) while Hutchinson finished 20-of-29 (69%).
Reigning Conference Player of the Week Ahmad Walker led four Cougars in double figures connecting on 13-of-14 from the charity stripe finishing with twenty-two points while dishing out a team high four assists. Player of the game Khalil Gracey just missed a career high dropping 4-of-6 behind the arc and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line finishing with twenty points while tying Tyrone Acuff for the team lead with four rebounds. Sharp shooter Kenny Enoch was 3-of-5 behind the arc finishing with thirteen points while Jalin Barnes’ 50% shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from the line added twelve points while leading a twelve steal night by the Cougars with six thefts.
Bashier Ahmed led three Blue Dragons in double digits connecting on 7-of-12 behind the arc on the way to a game high twenty-four points. Austin Budke added seventeen while Che Bob came off the Hutchinson bench to score fifteen. Keanu Pinder hauled down eleven rebounds to go along with six points while Akbar Hoffman led in steals with five.