AIKEN, S.C. — Senior point guard Gerald Boston scored 30 points to lead Barton to a 76-61 victory against Lincoln Memorial in the second round of the national tournament on Sunday at host USC Aiken’s Convocation Center.
Barton will make its third round of 16 appearance with a 23-7 overall record. The Bulldogs will play top-seeded USC Aiken (24-7) on Tuesday. The Pacers joined the Bulldogs in the third round with a 69-57 win against Wingate.
Boston scored 16 of his 30 points in the second half as Barton led for the final 27 minutes. Senior forward Keith Manley added a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds to help the Bulldogs win the battle of the boards 38-34. Freshman Chris Flemmings added 13 points including a game-high three 3-pointers and senior forward Jon Hart chipped in seven rebounds.
“First of all, it starts with Gerald Boston,” Barton head coach Ron Lievense said. “Gerald is one of the best point guards in the country. He is one of the best guards I have ever coached and I have coached some really good guards. Gerald’s a fantastic guard. Our team plays great team basketball and it starts with him.”
Boston has averaged 32 points in the Bulldogs two tourney wins and is also ranked 12th nationally in free-throw shooting percentage, was 10-for-10 from the line.
“You are only as good as the team surrounding you,” Boston said. “They make me look good. Every night it is somebody else whether it is Chris [Flemmings], Keith [Manley], Brian [McNair], Aaron [Brown] or Jon Hart. I think that is what makes us a great team, you never know who is going to step up each and every night.”
Manley also had three of Barton’s eight steals to go along with his second double-double of the season.
After the two teams played a one-possession game for the first 12 minutes, Barton closed the first half on a 22-9 run to take a 38-27 lead at halftime. Flemmings drilled a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive Bulldog possessions for the ninth lead change of the period that put Barton up 24-21.
Flemmings’ second three started an 11-0 run that also included 3-pointers by senior Aaron Brown and freshman Tristan Thomas. Junior guard Chance Jones ended the drought for the Railsplitters with two made free throws, but Flemmings followed with four consecutive points to extend the Bulldogs’ advantage to the largest of the half at 36-23. Jones made four more free throws late, but Boston converted on two of his own in the final minute to put Barton up 11 at halftime.
The Bulldogs made six 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes and held a 22-20 rebounding edge. Manley and Hart led BC’s frontcourt with six and five boards, respectively. Lincoln Memorial committed eight first-half turnovers compared to just four mistakes by Barton.
A three by junior guard Brian McNair extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 45-31 early in the second half before the Railsplitters attempted a comeback. Jones answered McNair with a 3-pointer on LMU’s next possession that sparked a 14-4 run by the designated hosts. Jones capped the outburst with a layup to cut the Railsplitter deficit to four points at 49-45.
Boston pulled up for a long jumper from the right wing on the fast break and then made a pair of free throws to double Barton’s lead to 53-45 before Lincoln Memorial pulled to within one possession twice with another 10-4 rally. Senior Dustin Craig and freshman guard Tim Pierce each tallied four points in the run. A pair of made free throws by Pierce inched the Railsplitters to within two 57-55 with 8:44 on the clock.
Flemmings ended LMU’s threat with his third 3-pointer at the 8:05 mark. Boston followed to increase Barton’s advantage to 64-55.
Lincoln Memorial scored the next four points to make the score 64-59, but the Bulldogs outscored the Railsplitters 12-2 in the final five minutes.
Barton shot 41.3 percent (26 of 63) from the field and 94.1 percent (16-17) from the free throw line. Lincoln Memorial shot 43.5 percent (20 of 46), but the Railsplitters only shot 64.3 percent on free throws.
Jones made all nine of his free throws to account for half of his team-high 18 points. Junior Vincent Bailey tacked on 12 Railsplitter points. Jake Troyli was held to just two points and Lorenza Ross was limited to seven points.