by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Pfeiffer University outscored Barton College 54-0 from the 3-point line and forced the Bulldogs into a season-high 20 turnovers in claiming a 109-90 Conference Carolinas road win Wednesday in Wilson Gymnasium.
The Falcons (19-3, 12-3), the highest scoring team in NCAA Division II at better than 107 points per game, exceeded their season average by pouring in 18 3-pointers in 40 attempts. The performance follows a school-record 21 3-pointers made in a 134-92 blowout of Lees-McRae College on Saturday.
By contrast, Barton (15-6, 10-3) made just 1-of-14 from 3-point range in a loss at first-place Limestone College last Friday, and went 0-for-15 against the Falcons. The Bulldogs went without a 3-pointer in a game for the first time since an 0-for-12 night at Queens University on March 2, 2012.
Barton came into the contest leading the league and ranking among the top 40 nationally in fewest turnovers at 11.9 per game, but handed the ball away 10 times in each half against Pfeiffer's pressure defense.
Pfeiffer jumped on the Bulldogs from the start. Senior guard A.J. Clark made four 3-pointers in the game's first two minutes, and the Falcons forced BC into turnovers on four of their first five possessions in racing to a quick 12-2 lead.
Trailing by 11, Barton used a layup by Dante Artis and consecutive baskets by Miguel Brown, the latter one a dunk, to trim the deficit to five at 16-11 with 13:06 left in the period. The Bulldogs eventually cut the margin down to three at 19-16 on a tip-in by Daniel Westbrook with 10:10 to go before halftime, and Pfeiffer held no more than a six-point cushion over the game's next seven minutes.
The Falcons took a brief seven-point lead at 40-33 on a pair of Clark free throws with 3:41 left before intermission, but Barton went on a 9-0 run to take its only lead of the night, 42-40, on a layup by freshman Michael Boykin with 44 seconds remaining in the period.
A 3-pointer by Clark for Pfeiffer and a free throw by Isaiah Buck-Lowman for Barton with one second left seemed to be setting up a tie game at the half, but Clark drained a 55-footer at the buzzer to send the Falcons to the break with a 46-43 advantage.
Clark made six 3-pointers on the night, all in the first half, and went to score a game-high 30 points. Fellow senior Andrew Guerrero also made six 3-pointers in the contest in adding 24 points.
The two teams traded a pair of baskets to begin the second half, but three turnovers on Barton's next four possessions led to a Keith Jumper dunk and consecutive 3-pointers by Guerrero, putting the Falcons back up by nine just three minutes into the period. Three more Barton turnovers soon followed, and Pfeiffer pulled away to a 67-51 lead on its way to a 63-point second half.
Barton did win the rebounding margin, 55 to 37, giving the Bulldogs scoring opportunities inside. BC also held a slight edge at the line, making 26 free throws to Pfeiffer's 19.
The Bulldogs were led by Boykin, who matched his career-high with 25 points and set a career-high with nine rebounds. Westbrook added 15 points and nine rebounds, and Brown chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds.
The two teams swapped places in the league standings, Pfeiffer moving into second place and Barton slipping to third.
The Bulldogs will hit the road for their next three games, starting with a visit to North Greenville University on Saturday at 4 p.m.