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CENTRAL, S.C. — To ascend from the proverbial valley back to the mountaintop, the Barton College men’s basketball team, in the words of head coach Ron Lievense, will have to develop the toughness to win consistently on the road.
Beginning a stretch of six road tests in eight NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas games, Lievense’s Bulldogs responded with a resounding 96-70 conquest of Southern Wesleyan in Tysinger Gymnasium on Saturday evening.
After pouring in 123 points in Wednesday’s home win against Lees-McRae, Barton, in its first league road assignment, placed six players in double-figures scoring and generated playing time for all 16 players.
The victory vaulted the Bulldogs to 4-2 in the conference and 11-5 overall. Barton continues conference play at home at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday against King (Tennessee) University.
The fifth consecutive loss left Southern Wesleyan at 1-4 and 2-12, respectively.
Barton galloped to a 56-29 halftime lead and, for the game, connected on 36-of-57 shots from the floor for a torrid 63.2 percent and went 12 of 22 from 3-point range for 54.5 percent.
The Warriors shot 43.5 percent (27 of 62) from the floor and knocked down 8-of-27 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Bulldogs controlled the backboards, 38-22 and committed 12 turnovers.
Barton’s lead crested at 96-60 on senior guard Matt Woods’ layup with five minutes, 16 seconds remaining.
The Warriors then scored the final 10 points.
Woods led Barton’s scoring with 17 points and handed out four assists. Sophomore guard Jake Kakar drilled in 14 points, while junior Michael Boykin and 6-foot-8 sophomore Blake Burdack each stuffed in 12 points.
Senior Bobby Stenborg and 6-5 sophomore Isaiah Reddish each finished with 10 points.
Stenborg was tops with six rebounds and Burdack added five.
No Barton performer played more than 26 minutes.