No. 19 Barton holds off feisty Falcons, 76-68

Barton senior Zach Faircloth makes a baseline floater with 16:34 left in the second half against Pfeiffer University on Monday after coming up with a steal | by Daniel Claytor
Barton senior Zach Faircloth makes a baseline floater with 16:34 left in the second half against Pfeiffer University on Monday after coming up with a steal | by Daniel Claytor

by Kevin Buczek

WILSON, N.C.-Five different Bulldogs scored in double figures in helping 19th ranked Barton College cling to a narrow lead throughout the second half before finally toppling Pfeiffer University 76-68 in Conference Carolinas men's basketball action on Monday night in the Dog House.

Senior point guard Gerald Boston led the Bulldogs with 13 points including a pair of insurance free throws down the stretch. Senior forward Jon Hart, senior guard Zach Faircloth, junior guard Brian McNair and freshman guard Chris Flemmings also bucketed 11 points for the hosts.

Barton improved to 12-2 overall and remained atop the Conference Carolinas standings at 7-1 with its fifth consecutive league win. Pfeiffer fell to 3-13 and 1-8 after suffering its seventh straight conference setback.

The Falcons upset bid was led by senior Josh Humphrey, who scored a game-high 21 points. Humphrey also had pulled down a team-best nine rebounds. Freshman A.J. Clark added 19 points.

Clark scored the opening bucket of the game on a fastbreak layup for Pfeiffer's only lead. Flemmings put Barton on the board with a three-pointer and a lay-in by Hart gave the Bulldogs a 5-2 lead. Clark responded with a trey to knot the score for the only time. Barton scored the next four points with two free throws by McNair and a baseline jumper by senior Keith Manley. The Bulldogs stayed in front for nearly the final 35 minutes.

Barton made seven of its nine 3-pointers in the first half in increasing its lead. Manley nailed another baseline 15-footer with 7:20 left to extend the Bulldogs lead to the largest of the game at 32-12. Pfeiffer answered with a 10-0 run to cut the deficit in half, 32-22, before a tip-in by Hart ended the rally at the 4:02 mark. Boston swished a three-pointer as time expired on a pass from senior Aaron Brown to send the Bulldogs into the locker room leading by 15 (42-27).

Flemmings led all players at the break with 11 points including a trio of trifectas.

Barton maintained a double digit advantage for majority of the second half but the Falcons kept swooping into the Bulldogs lead. A put-back by Manley extended Barton's cushion to 63-49 with only 7:35 to go but a 9-2 Pfeiffer rally finished off with a 3-pointer by Clark sliced the score in half at 65-58. The two teams traded points until a late layup by sophomore Montez Singleton pulled the Falcons to within two possessions, 72-66, with 77 seconds left. Boston was fouled on the ensuing played and converted on both attempts to end the threat.

Faircloth reached double figures for the second time this season to pace the Bulldogs bench. Manley chipped in eight points in 28 minutes of reserve action in his second game back from injury.

Boston was limited to 13 points on 3-of-15 shooting but the preseason All-American set up the Bulldogs offense with eight assists. Boston was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the second half.

Hart tallied his sixth double-double of the season with a game-high 13 rebounds as Barton controlled the glass, 44-32.

The Bulldogs shot 40.3% and Pfeiffer was 43.8%. The Falcons committed 20 turnovers on 13 BC steals including a team-best three thefts by senior Jarrett Jernigan.

Barton next travels to Queens University of Charlotte on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.