Bulldogs build big lead, hold off Tusculum 100-97

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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — The Barton College men’s basketball team constructed a 36-13 lead in the first half Tuesday afternoon, but had to withstand 14 3-pointers from host Tusculum College before a potential game-tying trey missed at the buzzer, allowing the Bulldogs to claim a 100-97 victory inside Pioneer Arena.

Barton climbed to 7-4 in winning its fifth straight game. Tusculum, representatives of the South Atlantic Conference, fell to 3-9.

Both teams shot the ball efficiently, with the Bulldogs making 38 of 62 shots for 61.3 percent accuracy. The Pioneers connected on 36 of 66 shots for a 54.5-percent clip.

Four Barton players finished in double figures, led by the 29 points of sophomore Isaiah Buck-Lowman. Junior Bobby Stenborg supplied a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Michael Boykin had 19 points with sophomore Jeff Gordon netting 18.

It was Gordon’s jumper with 8:17 remaining in the first half that staked the Bulldogs to a commanding 36-13 lead before Tusculum trimmed the margin to 12 at halftime, leaving Barton up 49-37.

The Bulldogs appeared to be on their way to salting it away after Buck-Lowman made a pair of free throws to give Barton a 94-84 cushion with exactly one minute remaining.

However, a pair of 3-pointers and a dunk inside the final minute allowed Tusculum to climb within one at 98-97. Barton inbounded the ball and found Zach Grant with 13 seconds to play. Grant made both of his foul shots, and Ronnie Baylark’s would-be 3-pointer to tie rimmed out from the corner with two seconds left, allowing Barton to survive.

Baylark tied his career high with 25 points as Tusculum made 10 of its 14 3-pointers in the second half. All five Pioneer starters finished in double figures with Zach Hartle, Dashaunte Smith and Elon Smallwood all netting 16 points. Donovan Donaldson had 14.

The Bulldogs return to the floor Saturday, Dec. 30 at Shaw University.