by Benny Benton
CENTRAL, S.C. – Barton College outscored Southern Wesleyan University 18-5 to begin the second half and pulled away to an 88-69 Conference Carolinas men's basketball victory Saturday afternoon at Historic Tysinger Gymnasium.
Playing its second road game in less than 24 hours after a disappointing loss on Friday, the Bulldogs (15-5, 10-2) played sluggish in the first half, giving the Warriors (3-18, 2-11) an opportunity for the upset.
The two teams traded the lead eight times in the first period, and Barton only took a 41-36 edge into intermission. The Bulldogs shot 38 percent in the half while giving up 41 percent to Southern Wesleyan.
However, Barton forced turnovers on each of Southern Wesleyan's first two possessions of the second half and turned them into layups - the first by Matt Woods and the second by Miguel Brown – to set the tone for the period.
The Warriors cut the deficit to seven on a layup by Justice McCullough, but SWU managed just one more field goal in the first seven minutes of the half. Southern Wesleyan went 2-for-12 from the field over that stretch and turned the ball over five times.
Barton took advantage, surging in front 59-41 on a 3-pointer by Isaiah Buck-Lowman with 12:53 to play. From that point, the Warriors never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Senior Daniel Westbrook scored 22 points and contributed eight rebounds to lead Barton. Freshman Jeff Gordon chipped in 11 points, with Buck-Lowman and Dante Artis each adding 10. The 10 points for Artis was a career-high. Brown produced a team-high nine rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Southern Wesleyan was paced by McCullough, who produced 28 points and 17 rebounds before he and teammate Jemiah Wimphrie were both ejected from the game with 1:52 to go.
Barton, which made just one 3-pointer in Friday's loss at Limestone, tossed in nine against the Warriors. The Bulldogs also forced SWU into 20 turnovers and enjoyed a 24-7 advantage in scoring off those miscues.
The game was the last of a three-game road trip for Barton. The Bulldogs return home to host Pfeiffer University on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in an important league contest. The Falcons are just percentage points behind the Bulldogs in the league standings, and bring the nation's highest scoring offense into the game, averaging better than 105 points per outing.