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No. 3 Barton men hold off upset bid in 71-65 victory over Cloud County


GREAT BEND, Kan. ( – The first trip through the Jayhawk is tough enough then adding the second time through the slate presented a set Wednesday night at the Barton Gym as the 3rd ranked Barton Community College men’s basketball had to scrape and claw to continue its win streak in holding off Cloud County Community College in a hard fought 71-65 victory.


Winners of 11 straight, the Cougars remain tied atop the league standings at 14-1 and 20-1 overall while the loss snaps the T-Birds three game winning streak falling to 10-5 in league and 15-6 overall.

Next up is a battle for the top spot in the Jayhawk as Barton hits the road Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. tip-off in Arkansas City against 10th ranked Cowley College (14-1, 19-2) as the Cougars will look to avenge its earlier season 80-70 loss to the Tigers.

The physical Jayhawk conference battle contained a combined 45 personal fouls and 55 free throws with neither team shooting better than 40% from the field.

Unable to connect on a field goal in the final 6:50 of first half action resulting in a one point deficit to be trailing for just the third time all season at the halftime break, the Cougars scored five straight out of intermission to never trail again.

Lajae Jones, who scored Barton’s first two points but was sent to the bench for the final 17:48 of the opening half due to foul trouble, erupted for 17 second half points including converting an And-1 capping the second half spurt out of the locker room.

Cloud County hung around to tie it for the last time at 45 but Ring Malith‘s pair of charity tosses followed by Jones’ perfect two free throws then banging a trey in front of the Barton student section concluded a 7-0 run giving Barton some cushion.

The T-Birds closed to within three a handful of times in the final five minutes, Jones and Malith each burying a triple to temporary halt the momentum on a pair of occasions with big buckets by Myles Thompson and Mozae Downing-Rivers coming late in final two minutes thwarting the other Cloud County comebacks.

Jones’ leading double-figures was joined by three other Cougars, Malith finishing with 13 points while Downing-Rivers and Thompson each adding 11 points.

Downing-Rivers dished out a game high 6 assists, Brent Moss came off the bench for a game high 9 rebounds as Thompson corralled 8 helping Barton to a plus-7 board advantage.

The T-Birds outshot Barton 40% to 33% including making three additional three-pointers with the Cougars earning a five point edge at the free throw line sinking 22 to Cloud County’s 17 made tosses.

Ja’Ron Briggs, Jr. matched Jones’ 19 points for game high honors with Abdoulaye Fall contributing 10 points.

In a rarity for the Cougars this season, Barton’s bench was outscored 30-8 with Ian Lavalaye leading the T-Birds’ advantage in producing 13 points as Isaiah Sy added 9 points and Emmanuel Manyuon contributing 8 points and a team leading 5 assists.

– Barton has won the last 3 meetings in the series and 9-of-the-last-10 at the Barton Gym
– Barton leads the series 38-6 at the Barton Gym
– Barton leads the overall series 68-23

Record Book Watch
Cooper Jackson
– 165 career steals *2nd most – 154 behind Eric Bush’s 319 (1999-01)