LIBERAL, Kan. – The Seward County men's basketball team continued their second half struggles Tuesday night, losing to Barton in Great Bend, 75-70. After leading the entire first half, the Cougars outscored the Saints 40-32 in the second half.
The Saints (5-3, 1-3) came out of the locker room on a mission, connecting on six of their seven shots, including three from behind the arc by Hegel Augustin to take a 15-9 lead six minutes into the game. Seward went on a 5-0 run after an Isiah Small contested layup and Anthony Thomas three-pointer to push their lead to 11 points at the media timeout.
Coming out of the media timeout, the Cougars used a 7-0 run to cut the lead to four before Terrell Alfred answered with a Seward three to extend the lead back to seven. Following another Augustin three, Barton went on a 7-3 run to cut the lead to one with just under two minutes left in the half, with the score 33-32. With a minute left, Sam Lorenzo drilled a triple to tie the game at 35, but a Ke'Sean Davis three game the Saints a three-point advantage heading into halftime, 38-35.
Seward couldn't miss in the first half, connecting on 15 of 26 (57.7%) from the floor and 7 of 12 (58.3%) from deep. Barton was just a step behind, shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc. The Saints went the entire half without trailing.
Momentum quickly turned to the side of the Cougars in the second half, scoring four-straight and taking the lead within the first minute of play. That was part of a 12-2 run to open the second half. An Isiah Small dunk stopped the bleeding for the Saints and started a 5-0 capped off with a Small free throw. Jordan Mitchell connected on a three right before the media timeout to help the Saints retake the lead, 53-52.
The Cougars went on a 5-0 run out of the media timeout to take a four-point lead. Isiah Small stopped the run with two free throws, before Anthony Thomas hit a three on the ensuing possession to give the Saints the lead.
Seward led 64-63 with three minutes to play, a foul by Ke'Sean Davis sent Elijah Ford to the line, where he hit both attempts and started a 12-6 run over the final three minutes. The late effort by the Cougars was enough to give them the win, 75-70.
The Saints finished the game shooting 25 of 52 (48.1%) from the floor and 9 of 18 from behind the arc. The Cougars were just as good though, hitting 25 of 53 (47.2%) from the field. Seward outrebounded Barton 33 to 30, but the Cougars finished with 12 second chance points to the Saints five.
Small scored a career-high 19 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Small came one rebound shy of a double-double. Augustin scored 13 points and Mitchell scored 11 to join Small in the double-digits.
The Saints will be back in the Greenhouse at 8 p.m. on Saturday when the host the Pratt Beavers. Free tickets are available courtesy of our sponsor Hampton Inn at Hampton Inn or Ruffino's Italian Restaurant.