by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Daniel Westbrook and R.J. Claypool made sure their Senior Day at Barton College on Saturday was a successful one, combining for 33 points in the Bulldogs' 85-73 victory over Emmanuel College at Wilson Gymnasium.
Westbrook, a hometown resident of Wilson, tossed in a team-high 18 points and added a game-high 10 rebounds for his third double-double in the past four games. Claypool, a resident of Woodbury, Minn., added 15 points and four boards for the Bulldogs, now 18-8 overall and 13-5 in Conference Carolinas.
The Bulldogs never trailed in the contest and led throughout the game after a 2-2 tie. Westbrook drained a pair of early 3-pointers and sophomore Matt Woods added another as Barton pulled away to an early 21-12 lead six minutes into the game.
A jumper by Kurtis Robinson and a 3-pointer by Derek Vandiver pulled Emmanuel back within four, but two free throws by Claypool, another one by Jeff Gordon and a 3-pointer by Michael Boykin pushed Barton's advantage to double-digits for the first time at 27-17 with 10:21 left in the half.
Barton's lead grew to 15 by halftime, 46-31, and reached 23 points at 73-50 following a tip-in by Claypool with just under 10 minutes left in the game before a late rally helped the Lions trim the final margin to 12.
Zach Lillie led Emmanuel in the loss with 24 points and eight rebounds. Robinson chipped in 15 points and Austin Greene added 13 for the Lions.
The Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the field in the opening half (17 of 34) while limiting the Lions to 39 percent (12 of 31) in opening up the double-digit lead. Barton finished the night 29 of 63 (46 percent) while Emmanuel was 27 of 64 (42 percent).
Barton also enjoyed a rebounding margin of eight (41 to 33) and made eight more free throws (19 to 11), although the Bulldogs shot just 67 percent from the stripe (19 of 28) while Emmanuel shot 85 percent (11 of 13).
The Bulldogs will host Lees-McRae College in their final regular-season home game of the year on Tuesday before closing out the schedule at University of Mount Olive on Friday.
Barton is already assured of hosting a quarterfinal match in the Conference Carolinas Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 28.