Barons split pair of games at Georgia Southwestern Classic

MOUNT VERNON -- The Brewton-Parker College men's basketball team opened the 2004 portion of its schedule with a split of two games in Georgia Southwestern State University Holiday Classic in Americus.

On Friday, Jan. 2, the Barons came out on the wrong end of a 107-89 score in their game against the NAIA's No. 1 ranked team, the Cougars of Mountain State University (W.Va.).

On Saturday, Jan. 3, the Barons came back and beat the Tennessee Temple University Crusaders 89-80.

Brewton-Parker coach Steve Barker was pleased with what he saw over the weekend.

"In the Mountain State game, we fought them all the way. In the Tennessee Temple game, we had guys coming off the bench and stepping up to make a real difference out there," Barker said. "In both games, our players showed their pride in what we are doing."

The Mountain State game was close for most of the first half before the Cougars made an 18-2 run to give themselves a 57-38 advantage at the half.

BPC cut the Mountain State lead to 10 twice during the second half, "but each time we turned it over on our next possession," Barker said. "Still, I like the way we kept fighting back. We played them tougher then anyone else has this year."

Leading the way for the Barons were senior post Hector Solano of Miami, Fla., who had 25 points and five rebounds, and freshman guard Stanley Johnson of Atlanta with 16 points and five rebounds.

"I was really pleased with the way Stanley Johnson, a transfer freshman from Georgia Perimeter College, played in his first game in a year," Barker said.

Mountain State benefited from strong showings by Mersad Terzic, who had 22 points and five rebounds, and Zane Gillard, who also contributed 22 points and five rebounds. The key for Mountain State was 3-pointers, where the Cougars buried 14 of 23 shots for an incredible 60 percent and shot 62 percent overall.

The Cougars' record is 18-0 after they whipped Faulkner University (Ala.) 94-74 Monday night. Mountain State pounded Georgia Southwestern 110-78 in Saturday's other game after the Hurricanes defeated Tennessee Temple 85-64 on Friday.

The Barons then took on the Crusaders of Tennessee Temple in what was a closely fought contest all the way.

"We had a mental letdown for whatever reason, so I went to our bench and they came up strong," said Barker, whose team led 42-34 at the half before taking the nine-point win.

Junior post Bryan Jett of Hampton had a double-double with 33 points and 12 rebounds. Jett nearly had a triple-double with seven blocked shots in what Barker said "was the best I have ever seen him play."

Junior post David Byrne of Rincon contributed 13 points and three rebounds. Freshman Ryan Rodgers of Atlanta stood out, guarding the Crusaders' most dangerous player and limiting him to an average night, while Rodgers had an assist, a blocked shot, two steals, three rebounds and two points.

The Barons (5-5) open Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference play in a big way Thursday in Montgomery, Ala., against Auburn University Montgomery (3-5) with a 9 p.m. game and continue GACC action Saturday at Emmanuel College (4-9) in Franklin Springs at 8 p.m.

Brewton-Parker's first home game of 2004 is Thursday, Jan. 15, against defending GACC champion Faulkner (9-4) at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Activities Center.