Barons win at AUM, split first conference games

By Bill Glass
BPC Public Relations

MOUNT VERNON -- Great one day and awful the next is about the only way Brewton-Parker College men's basketball coach Steve Barker could describe last week's effort by the Barons.

On Thursday, Jan. 8, the Barons did what no BPC men's basketball team had ever done when they beat perennial NAIA national tournament participant Auburn University Montgomery (Ala.) 67-63 on the Senators' home floor.

Then on Saturday, Brewton-Parker went to Franklin Springs and lost 69-65 to Emmanuel College.

"Coaches worry about a mental letdown after a big game, and unfortunately that's what happened to us at Emmanuel," Barker said.

The Auburn Montgomery game was the Barons' first conference game of the season, and Brewton-Parker responded by posting the first victory of the GACC campaign.

"We had a good scouting report and had broken down some film of them playing," said Barker. "They did not appear to be as big and strong inside as they had been in the past."

Thus Brewton-Parker's game plan called for a relentless assault on the basket, and that strategy led to a 36-28 bulge for the Barons at halftime en route to their four-point margin of victory.

"We had control of the game the whole way," Barker said. "They tied it with two minutes left, but on the next possession freshman guard Stanley Johnson of Atlanta sank a 3-pointer from deep in the corner. They never scored again while we got one more on a free throw by junior post Bryan Jett of Hampton."

Johnson stepped up big in the game for the Barons with 21 points, senior guard Jarvis Smith of Atlanta put in 15, senior post Hector Solano of Miami, Fla., contributed 14 and Jett had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Barons' defense, rated No. 1 in the conference, held the Senators (3-7 overall, 0-2 GACC after another loss Saturday) to 40 percent shooting on field goals, 10 points below their average, and AUM also had an off night from 3-point range by knocking down a measly 25 percent.

Rebounds were about evenly spilt between the two teams, with the Barons holding a slight edge 37-36. Akeem Hardman, the Senators' outstanding guard, made a strong effort to pull the game out for Auburn Montgomery by finishing with 22 points.

After a lengthy road trip back from Montgomery and just one night in their own beds, the Barons headed out again to play their second conference game of the season at Emmanuel on Saturday night.

"We came out flat, were not sharp, looked fatigued," said Barker, and such showed in the Barons' 37 percent shooting rate and in their performance at the free-throw line where they made only 12 of 21 tries.

After trailing 33-27 at the half, the Barons came out and scored on their first three possessions to tie the game up at 33-all.

"We looked like we were ready to make a run, but by that point Emmanuel had so much confidence going I knew it would be a battle," said Barker.

The Barons' strong defense held the Lions' No. 1 scorer, forward Joey Isaac, to eight points, but in the process Lions guard Ryan Frazee scored 28 points and Luke Prichard put in 18. The Lions (6-9, 1-0) also outrebounded the Barons 48-37.

Scoring in double figures for the Barons were Jett and guard Tre Hill of Waycross with 12 points apiece, and Smith and Solano with 11 each. Jett also had 11 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the year and third double dip in as many games.

"Simply put, we had a mental letdown from AUM Thursday night and went in flat," Barker said. "Good teams don't let that happen, and we will try to avoid it in the future."

The Barons (6-6, 1-1) on Thursday will play host to Faulkner University (Ala.) in their first home game since Dec. 13 at 8 p.m., with a big crowd expected. The Barons then will be on the road again Saturday for an 8 p.m. match-up against Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.