Barons follow OT win with split in Mobile

By Terry Gaston

Brewton-Parker College senior guard Gabe Bubon (left) rifles a shot against William Lowery of Allen University (S.C.) in the teams' Nov. 11 game at the Brewton-Parker Student Activities Center in Mount Vernon. (Photo by Charles Conkin)

Mt. Vernon -- Brewton-Parker College Barons basketball coach Steve Barker approached the Spring Hill College Classic in Mobile, Ala., over the weekend with caution.

After all, one of the teams the Barons would play was ranked No. 23 in the NAIA Division I preseason poll and the host team received votes for the ratings.

The Barons first scored a 62-48 victory over the 23rd-ranked University of Mobile in Friday night's game.

Spring Hill got the best of Brewton-Parker on Saturday and denied the Barons a sweep with a 66-56 win.

The Barons' week began with a rally from a 10-point deficit in the final 6:24 to force overtime and score a 71-69 win over Allen University (S.C.) for their first win at the Student Activities Center.

The overtime was the third the Barons entered in their first four games, having split the first two decisions. Five points total decided Brewton-Parker's first three games at their new facility.

"I am hoping this is going to teach us how to be calm and collected in close situations," Barons coach Steve Barker said of the Nov. 11 victory. "It's good to have close games, and we're playing a brand of basketball that gives us the opportunity to win. I think we can learn from our losses."

Allen had three 10-point leads in the second half, the last at 55-45 before Brewton-Parker switched to a smaller lineup and completed a game-tying, 13-3 run with seven unanswered points.

"We went to a small, guard-oriented lineup to generate some more scoring," said Barker, whose team responded with scores coming from four different players during the game-knotting stretch.

Freshman guard Barry McDonald tied the score at 58-all with 2:12 after taking a pass off one of junior post Hector Solano's six blocked shots.

Allen regained the lead on a 3-pointer with 1:17 remaining, but senior guard Gabe Bubon tied the score on a trey with 51 seconds left in regulation.

McDonald found junior guard Jarvis Smith open for a game-winning 3-point attempt, but Smith's shot missed to force the Barons' third overtime of the young season.

The Barons responded to the Jackets' OT-opening basket with a 9-0 run, with Bubon hitting the game-tying free throws and go-ahead 3-pointer and McDonald hitting four free throws.

"Gabe Bubon is just an awesome scorer," Barker said of the 6-foot-3 transfer from Warren, Ohio, who finished the game with 23 points while hitting 5-of-10 3-point shots and 6-of-8 free throws. "Barry is going to be our point guard of the future. He plays heads-up ball."

Allen closed to within one at 70-69 with 4.4 seconds left, but junior guard Ben McGlynn hit a free throw with two ticks remaining and Allen missed a full-court shot off the rebound.

Smith added 10 points, and Solano led the Barons in rebounds with nine along with his six blocks. Allen's Dewayne Jackson shared game-high scoring honors with Bubon with 23 points.

In making the trip to Mobile, Barker said his goal for the Barons was to earn a split, and the goal was guaranteed after Friday's first game.

"We got a split and we're upset that we lost Saturday, but there aren't many folks who will go in there and split against those two teams," said Barker, whose team entered this week at 3-3. "We'll take it."

Senior guard Derrick Hairston led Brewton-Parker's win over Mobile with 16 points, while Solano followed with 13 points and led the Barons in rebounds with seven.

The Barons were 77 percent accurate at the free-throw line and committed just 11 turnovers while forcing Mobile into 18 miscues.

"We played with a lot of confidence and shot the ball well," Barker said. "Their post player was hurt, but they were still good. Mobile was probably the better team between the two (Spring Hill)."

The Barons actually shot better from the floor against Spring Hill (48 percent, including 40 percent on 3-pointers) and out-rebounded the Badgers 27-16, but Barker said "we killed ourselves" by going just 14-for-28 at the free-throw line and "that's what cost us the game."

After leading 36-29 at halftime, Spring Hill opened up a 12-point lead before Brewton-Parker cut the deficit to three with 1:40 left on the clock. The Badgers combined shooting and defensive success to finish the game with a 7-0 run.

Although his team improved to 4-0 with the win, Spring Hill coach Tom Kenna had plenty of admiration for the Barons.

"This was our toughest game of the season so far. Brewton-Parker came out with a great game plan, and pressed up to slow down the game and take out our half court game," Kenna said. "We haven't faced a team that has rebounded, shot the 3 and played as physical as Brewton-Parker was (Saturday)."

Bubon led the Barons with 17 points, hitting 6 of 10 shots that included four out of six 3-pointers. Solano again had 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The Barons traveled to Columbia, S.C., on Tuesday to play Allen on the Yellow Jackets' home court and then head to Daytona Beach, Fla., for action Friday and Saturday in the Daytona Mitsubishi Shootout at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Brewton-Parker plays Florida Memorial University on Friday at 6 p.m. and Embry-Riddle at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The Barons will then be off until Dec. 5, when they travel to Sumter, S.C., to play Morris College in hopes of avenging a 99-98 overtime loss in the Brewton-Parker Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 8.