Belmont Abbey senior guard Chris Davis led five Crusaders in double figures with 20 points, but the Crusaders could not overcome a Barton lead after the two teams were tied at 50 at the half as the Bulldogs used late free throws to defeat the Abbey 101-97 this evening at the Wheeler Center. Barton evens its record to 4-4 overall and 1-0 in Conference Carolinas, while the Abbey drops to 3-6 overall and 0-2 in league play.
The Crusaders led for most of the first half, pulling away with a 13-5 run to build a 39-31 edge with 5:32 left after Barton took a one point lead, but the Bulldogs closed the half on a 7-2 run to bring the contest to a 50-50 stalemate at the break.
Barton led for the entire second half - its lead never rose above seven points- as the Bulldogs held off several Crusader runs to maintain their lead.
The closest the Abbey got to Barton was two points, which happened four times, the last of which came with 6:15 left, but the action heated up with under a minute left.
Trailing 96-90 with 39 seconds showing, freshman guard Drexler Clark sliced the advantage in half with a traditional three-point play, sinking a layup while fouled and swishing the ensuing free throw. That play made the score 96-93 with 34 seconds to play.
Three seconds later, the Abbey was forced to foul, and Zach Faircloth moved the lead back to five at 98-93.
The two teams then traded two free throws each, the last of which from Chris Flemmings with 23 seconds left, increased the Barton lead to 100-95.
The Crusaders fought back, as Davis streaked the length of the floor and sank a layup, the last of his 20 points on the evening to keep the game one possession away at 100-97 with 13 seconds remaining.
Forced to foul again, the Abbey hacked Flemmings, who missed both free throws with 10 seconds left.
With a three-pointer away from tying the game, the Abbey did just that, but before the shot went up, a charging foul was called on Clark, coming with five seconds left, that negated the shot and gave the Bulldogs possession.
On the inbounds play, before any time ran off the clock, Flemmings was fouled and went to the line, where he missed the first- keeping the Abbey's hopes alive-but he made the second, sealing the 101-97 victory.
Davis led the Abbey with 20 points, 12 coming in the second half, on 7-11 shooting, to go along with a team-high seven rebounds. Darryl Durham added 18 and six rebounds. Ryan Conrad poured in 16, while Clark and Ray Chen added 14 and 11, respectively.
The Crusaders shot 49.3 percent for the game, including 51 percent in the first half. Barton shot 47 percent as Daniel McClendon led all scorers with 27 points. Barton dominated the boards by a 48-35 count, with 20 of the rebounds coming on the offensive glass.
The two teams combined to shoot 61 free throws, as Barton converted 23-37 attempts, while the Crusaders made 17 of 24.