Barons' 5th straight win sets up GACC showdown

MOUNT VERNON -- The Brewton-Parker College Barons basketball team took to the court Thursday night for the first time since they moved into a tie for first halfway through the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference.

With their 81-77 victory over Shorter College at the Student Activities Center, the Barons won their fifth straight game, all in conference play, and set up a battle for sole possession of first Saturday at home against Southern Polytechnic State University.

Brewton-Parker (15-9 overall, 8-2 GACC) moved into a tie for first earlier in the week with its win at Georgia Southwestern State University, but Barons coach Steve Barker knows how fragile the catbird seat can be.

"Good teams know how to put people away and we didn't do that," Barker said. "But Shorter is a pretty good team. We outshot and outrebounded them, and that was the key."

The Barons hit 53.4 percent of their shots, hitting 17 of 31 in the first half in taking a 43-37 halftime lead that included seven made 3-point shots..

They highlighted the first half with five 3-point shots in a 15-5 run, the first three by senior guard Gabe Bubon, for a 39-27 lead with 5:39 left in the half.

Senior guard Derrick Hairston ripped two more treys midway through the second half, both coming after sophomore guard Toms Lokmanis had grabbed offensive rebounds, and Bubon's fifth and final 3-ball gave the Barons a 68-54 lead with 7:52 remaining.

Then Shorter (8-12, 2-8) showed why the Hawks were formidable enough to hand Faulkner University (Ala.) - which had a two-game conference lead the week before - the first of its three straight conference losses a week earlier.

After pulling to within 10 at 78-68 with 1:04 to play, Shorter scored seven straight points to close to within three on two occasions. Bubon, who finished with 25 points, hit two free throws with 29.7 seconds remaining that left the Hawks needing two scoring possessions but able to capitalize just once.

Hairston and junior post Hector Solano - who was 7-for-9 from the floor with the last of the five straight 3-pointers - both finished with 17 points, while Lokmanis had a team-high seven rebounds and sophomore guard Trey Hill made nine assists.

Junior guard Patrick Smith led four Hawks in double figures with 16 points.