GCCC men stun No. 9 Barton, 66-47.
GCCC men stun No. 9 Barton, 66-47.
By ADAM HOLT
For a Garden City Community College men's basketball team that struggled with consistency in the first half of the season, the first three games of conference play loomed large — bouts with the top three teams in the Jayhawk West.
And after that stretch, the Broncbusters came out with a 1-2 record in KJCCC play, improving each game and culminating with a stunning 66-47 upset of No. 9 Barton on Wednesday at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
The game maybe didn't end quite the way anyone wanted — a confrontation led to both teams having to be separated after the postgame handshake — but the result in the won-loss column was sweet for Garden City (9-8, 1-2 KJCCC)
"I thought that was our best 40-minute effort," GCCC head coach Rand Chappell said. "First half of the season, I kept telling the guys they were grading at a 70 at where the effort needed to be. Against Butler, we didn't do any better than that, that's for sure. We did a little better at Hutch, and I told the guys if we could improve that much again in focus and toughness and concentration, we could get something done. I thought we stepped it up a little bit more tonight."
A strong performance in a loss at No. 4 Hutchinson on Monday — Garden City trailed by just a point with under four minutes to play in that game — served as a springboard for Wednesday's win.
"We went in, everybody thought we were the underdog," freshman guard Chris Hall said. "We were down by one point with four minutes left in that game. If we can do that against the No. 4 team in the nation, we can do that against anybody. We learned if we don't try to speed up the game, then we can win."
After a poor shooting first half where both teams were 9-of-28 from the field, Garden City entered the second half down just 23-22. Less than six minutes in, and the Busters led, 37-30.
Chappell was called for a technical foul early in the second, and Turon Parker made both free throws to give Barton a 27-22 lead. Reuben King responded with a 3-pointer, and not long after, it was a 28-27 game, the Cougars still ahead.
Hall made back-to-back free throws to give Garden City a 33-30 lead. The Busters got a putback from Arkeem Joseph and a layup from Joe Ebondo to finish a 7-0 run and force a Barton timeout with 14:14 left to play.
From there, cold shooting by the Cougars (15-2, 2-1), and a patient offense by the Busters kept Garden City on top. Barton had 17 points over the final 14 minutes of play, and finished 17-of-61 from the field (27.9 percent). Garden City shot 51.9 percent from the field in the second half to improve to 41.8 percent for the game. Slowing the game down worked in favor of the Busters.
"Once we took the lead like that — we really don't take leads like that — but once we do, we've been slowing the games down, to make teams play like we want them to play," Hall said. "Once we start having people doing what we wan them to do, we've got everybody under control."
Garden City got some hustle plays as well. After a turnover, GCCC's Frank Agholor hustled back and got a block on a Turon Parker fastbreak layup attempt. The Barton bench was called for a technical, and Agholor nailed both free throws to make it 62-44 with 1:49 to play.
It was a different looking team than the home crowd has seen most of the year.
"Just more energy," Agholor said. "Guys are playing a lot harder. I don't remember us diving on the floor like that. There was a couple possessions, our center dove on the floor three times for loose balls. Just guys giving effort and going hard. I think that was it for us; that put us in focus."
Agholor was almost unstoppable driving the ball to the rim, scoring 22 points to match Barton star Algie Key, who got his 22 on 8-of-20 shooting from the field. Hall added 20 for Garden City, making 5-of-8 from behind the arc.
Both credited it to some extra time in the gym and weight room.
The game was ugly early for both teams, and it was just an 8-6 game at the media timeout in the first half.
"But in the second half — and I told them this at halftime — if we keep holding people to 20-something points in a half, we're gonna break loose and score 30, 40 points ourselves in a half here in the second, and maybe start doing it on a regular basis, if you keep making that defensive effort," Chappell said.
The Busters are back on the road for a 4 p.m. Sunday game at Colby.
Barton (47) — Parker 1-10 2-3 4, Cumberbatch 3-1 1-2 7, Key 8-20 5-8 22, Johnson 1-3 2-2 4, Stephans 1-2 0-2 2, Unrau 0-1 0-0 0, Kuteyi 3-13 0-0 7, Wilson 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 17-61 11-19 47.
Garden City (66) — Ebondo 2-4 0-1 4, Agholor 8-17 6-9 22, King 2-5 2-4 8, Hall 6-15 3-4 20, Cathey 2-5 1-2 5, Jones 1-2 1-2 3, Bernbeck 1-2 0-0 2, Joseph 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 23-55 13-22 66.
Halftime--Barton 23-22. 3-point goals--B 2-14 (Key 1-1, Kuteyi 1-6, Unrau 0-1, Cumberbatch 0-4, Parker 0-2), GC 7-14 (Hall 5-8, King 2-4, Agholor 0-2). Fouled out--none. Rebounds--B 41 (Cumberbatch 9), GC 44 (Ebondo 13). Assists--B 7 (Parker 5), GC 4 (Agholor 4). Turnovers--B 12, GC 13. Technical fouls--B Bench, Kuteyi, GC bench. Total fouls--B 18, GC 20.