WILSON, NC – Nationally 12th ranked Barton College, seeded first in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament, survived a scare from 9th seed Coker Wednesday night in the Dog House.

 

After the two coaches called a combined four timeouts with six seconds left, Coker’s Johnny Jackson misfired on a 3-pointer with one second left, allowing Barton to secure a 75-72 victory.

 

The win vaulted the Bulldogs of 10th-year head coach Ron Lievense into Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against 4th-seeded Limestone at Mount Olive College. Barton, ranked No. 1 in the NCAA D-II East Region, rose to 23-3 overall while the Cobras ended their year at 7-21.

 

Coker sank 15-of-29 3-point attempts, including 9-of-13 in the second half. It trailed 9-0, but rallied within 39-30 at intermission, then bombed its way to its first lead at 66-65 with 3:19 to play.

 

A Mark Friscone layup off a Casey Moore assist and a fadeaway jumper by Moore made it 69-66 Barton with 1:56 showing.

 

Coker answered with a trey from Mark Duncan at 1:28. Two free throws by junior 6-7 forward Alejo Barovero and a 3-pointer from freshman guard Bobby Buffaloe gave the Bulldogs a 74-69 edge with 14 ticks left, but the Cobras quickly pushed the ball upcourt and Michael Pierce drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

 

Buffaloe was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play and made 1-of-2 shots, setting the stage for the thrilling final play. Jackson’s shot over the taller Barovero was rebounded by Moore to end the game.

 

Barton shot 47.7 percent (21-of-44) from the floor, including 8-of-16 from downtown, while Coker was 23-of-49 from the floor for 46.9 percent. Barton dominated the boards 31-22.

 

Junior point guard Anthony Atkinson led the Bulldogs with 19 points. Barovero drained 17, including 11-of-14 from the line, and added a team-high seven boards.

 

For Coker, Pierce scored 20 (4-of-5 from 3-point range), Jackson had 15, Duncan tallied 13 and Ryan Fulwood added 12.