The Barton Community College men’s basketball team let an opportunity get away from them Wednesday night at the Barton Gym as the Cougars saw a nine point second half lead erased resulting in a 72-64 loss to No. 15 Hutchinson Community College. The loss drops Barton to 7-5 in conference play and 15-8 on the season while Hutchinson keeps pace in the Jayhawk race at 9-3 and 20-3 overall. Next up for the Cougars is Monday’s matchup with Coffeyville Community College, another perennial Region VI powerhouse hungry for a win trying to end a two game slide. Tip off time at the Barton Gym slated for 5:30 p.m.
The teams came out tight in part to the raucous Pink Out t-shirt clad fans creating a big time game atmosphere. With multiple air balls from teach team, an Ezekiel Charles banked in three gave the Cougars a five point lead at the first half media timeout. A Hutchinson 5-0 run tied things up in the next four minutes then kept the momentum rolling outscoring the Cougars 13-3 to grab its own five point lead. Barton answered with a 10-0 run to close the half beginning with an NBA distance trey from Jordan Windholz, a jump hook from Tyrone Acuff, another long bomb from Windholz, and a beautiful drive-n-dish from Charles to Acuff as the Cougars stormed to the locker room with a 31-26 lead.
Barton kept the distance for the first eight minutes of second half action increasing it to nine on an Acuff trey with 11:14 to play. The Cougars went cold for the next five minutes and Hutchinson chipped away with eight straight to close within one.
With foul concerns mounting on Barton, Hutchinson made the most of the double bonus sinking 4-of-4 from the line until a Samajae Haynes-Jones trey put the Blue Dragon lead out to four with 3:50 remaining. Derek Dorn cut the deficit in half and on the following Hutchinson possession, appeared to draw a charge by Akbar Hoffman. As two officials had different calls, the questionable block/charge call went against the home squad resulting in two Hoffman charity throws taking the lead back out to four.
The Cougars grabbed an offensive rebound with second chance opportunities on their next possession, but Shakur Juiston swatted away a point blank opportunity then Windholz came up empty on a jumper as Hutchinson grabbed the defensive rebound.
Dequandre Dentmond, who was held in check most of the night due to foul trouble, came up with a block then Barton got the stand it needed as Dorn robbed Keanu Pinder seconds later. But the Blue Dragons turned away another point blank opportunity for their sixth block of the night setting up Hoffman’s all but clinching layup giving Hutchinson a six point lead.
A pair of Acuff free throws cut the deficit to four with just under a minute to play but the Cougars couldn’t find the net the rest of the way while the Blue Dragons sank 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to snap its three-game losing streak to Barton.
Four Cougars reached double-digits being led by the thirteen point efforts by Charles and Acuff as Acuff led an eight point bench production edge. Ten points came from Dorn and Dentmond with Dorn leading the eighteen assist on twenty-one bucket night with seven while Dentmond grabbed a team high seven rebounds in twenty-six minutes of action.
Hutchinson also had four players in double figures led by Hoffman’s game high twenty points. Pinder scored fifteen, Bashir Ahmed contributed fourteen, while Juiston put up a double-double eleven point thirteen rebound night.