Barons open with overtime victory, near-miss defeats

By Terry Gaston

MT. VERNON -- A made basket here and a missed basket there were all that kept the Brewton-Parker College men's basketball team from beginning its first week with three victories.

Then again, a missed basket here and a made basket there also might have left the Barons winless after the first week.

The Barons won their opening game after a tying basket forced overtime but then lost their next two games, the first in overtime after another tying score to end regulation and the second after leading in the final seconds, in the Brewton-Parker Tip-Off Classic at the Student Activities Center.

Junior guard Ben McGlynn's 3-pointer forced overtime in the Barons' season opener Nov. 5 at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., which Brewton-Parker won 91-86.

In their home opener Friday night, the Barons let a 21-point first-half lead to Morris College (S.C.) get away before senior guard Josh Stuart's score off a McGlynn assist forced overtime, but the visiting Hornets spoiled the hosts' SAC opener with a 99-98 win.

Then Saturday night, Stuart missed a pair of late free throws against Webber International University (Fla.) that could have sealed the Barons' first home win, and guard Tony Jefferson's 4-point play with 6.0 seconds left lifted the Warriors to a 70-68 win.

"We will probably win two games like that later in the season, and that's when we would rather win them," said Barons coach Steve Barker, referring to the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference schedule that awaits Brewton-Parker beginning in January.

The same could be said for the Barons' opener as well, a game in which they trailed 20-6 early and rallied to within six before Claflin rebuilt its 14-point lead. Brewton-Parker closed the half with nine straight points to trail just 48-43.

Barker said the second half had about 12 lead changes after the Barons forged ahead early, and McGlynn's 3-pointer with seven seconds left tied the score at 80.

The Panthers had the ball knocked out of bounds with one second left and had a game-winning shot attempt blocked by BPC junior post Leron Green to force the extra period.

"In overtime, it just became a possession game," Barker said. "We did more with each possession than they did."

Stuart paced the Barons with 24 points, including an 8-for-8 free-throw effort.

Senior guard Derrick Hairston followed with 15 points, including 3-for-4 success from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Tre Hill was 9-for-12 at the line in scoring 15 points while making a team-high 10 steals, and junior post Hector Solano followed with 13 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.

Nicholas Figgs led five Claflin players in double figures with a game-high 28 points.

In their home opener Friday night against Morris, the Barons got 16 first-half points from senior guard Gabe Bubon and 15 from junior guard Jarvis Smith in building a 52-31 advantage before the Hornets scored two baskets late to whittle the halftime margin to 17.

Morris continued its late-half shooting success into the second half and took its first lead at 61-60 with 11:33 left.

The teams then exchanged the lead 10 times before Stuart's basket with 4.1 seconds left tied the score at 87 and forced overtime.

Hairston put the Barons ahead 98-97 with 43.6 seconds remaining for the seventh lead change of overtime, but senior forward Lauree Bookhart tipped in a Morris miss with 28.6 seconds left for the Hornets' lead. Brewton-Parker had two go-ahead opportunities afterward but missed on both.

Bubon finished the night with 24 points, hitting 3-of-8 3-point shots, while Hairston added 17 points and team highs of seven assists and six steals. Smith also had 17 points with 3-of-5 treys, while McGlynn scored 14 and had a team-high six rebounds and Stuart added 11 points.

Junior swingman Darren Greene led Morris with a game-high 24 points and senior guard Shawn Swilley added 19.

The Barons then found themselves in the comeback position Saturday night against Webber after the Warriors led by as many as eight in the first half and were up 36-29 at halftime.

Brewton-Parker quickly tied the score and forged ahead in the opening moments of the second half, building a 44-40 lead.

Jefferson's free throw with 2:06 left gave the Warriors a 64-63 lead before the Barons scored five straight points to lead 68-64 with 25.4 ticks remaining.

After Jefferson hit a shot with 17.8 seconds left, Stuart missed both free throws with 14.1 seconds remaining.

Jefferson fired a 3-point shot and drew a foul as his go-ahead shot fell, and he hit the ensuing free throw for a 70-68 lead. Hairston tried a final 3-pointer from the left corner but fell short on his game-winning attempt.

"Every coach would like to have their best free-throw shooter, a senior who went to the national tournament (as a freshman in 2000), on the line in a situation like that," Barker said. "But, there will be a night when Josh is going to hit those."

Jefferson finished with a game-high 27 points, while Solano paced the Barons with another double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore post Ryan Parry followed with 12 points and Hairston had 10.

After Monday night's home game against Allen University (S.C.), the Barons will be on the road for their next seven dates. That stretch begins Friday in the University of Mobile's classic in Alabama against the host squad Friday and Spring Hill College (Ala.) on Saturday.

Brewton-Parker then reciprocates Allen's trip with a journey to Columbia, S.C., on Tuesday, Nov. 19.