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Barons’ postseason hopes stay alive with three game winning streak
|Freshman guard Michael Johnson of Douglas stays focused and ready for the rebound at the free throw line Feb. 10 against Southern Wesleyan University. (Photo by Ashley Byrd)
By Taylor Hereford
Director of Marketing
MOUNT VERNON – Head coach Steve Barker knew the upcoming three game home stand would be huge for the Brewton-Parker College men’s basketball team. And so far, the Barons have delivered.
Led by Warren Beaulah and Jurbien Byrd, the Barons (10-17, 6-9 SSAC) have put together a three game winning streak, which includes the overtime win at Reinhardt Feb. 3 and victories over Berry College Feb. 8 (98-83), and Southern Wesleyan University Feb. 10 (76-54). This streak has propelled the team from ninth to sixth in the conference and keeps hope alive for a birth in the eight team Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament.
“We have jumped three spots in the conference in 10 days, which is huge,” said Barker. “The biggest difference has been our shooting. We have shot lights out over these three games.”
Barker attributes the improved shooting performance in part to a change in strategy.
“We were able to apply full court pressure against both Berry and Southern Wesleyan pretty well, which upped the tempo of the game. This enabled us to have better scoring opportunities and we took advantage of that,” he said.
Coming into the Berry game, the Barons were only averaging 59 points as a team. That averaged definitely jumped after their 58 point first half performance, en route to the 98-83 win. Byrd led all scorers with 41 points and missed one shot all night. He was 12-for-13 from the field and perfect from the free throw line (9-for-9). Beaulah added 25 points in the win.
Against Southern Wesleyan, the Barons had four players in double figures. Beaulah had 24 points while Byrd finished with 12. Bradley Wilson had 11 points while Rodney Jackson finished with 10.
The Barons were also able to force 23 turnovers, which can be attributed once again to the full court pressure.
“Coming in we knew they (Southern Wesleyan) were struggling,” Barker said. “We didn’t let up on the pressure and were able to capitalize on their mistakes.”
With regards to his team’s postseason hopes, Barker knows the upcoming game against Shorter will be pivotal.
“If we are able to beat Shorter Thursday night, that will go a long way in helping us solidify a spot in the tournament,” said Barker.
Whether the Barons are able to extend their winning streak or not, they do have the advantage of a head-to-head tiebreaker with any team, if needed, for seeding purposes. This is due to the team’s upset win over conference leader Faulkner University Jan. 18.
The Shorter game, which is also Senior Night, is this Thursday, Feb. 15. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. The Barons finish the regular season on the road against Southern Polytechnic (Feb. 17) and Emmanuel College (Feb. 24). Should BPC earn a birth in the SSAC Tournament, it will be Feb. 28 through Mar. 3 at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn.