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Brewton-Parker Defeats #12 Lee University in OT
Bballmen winBarron
Baron Brandon Barron (3), a 6’ junior from Selma, Ala., celebrates a free throw attempt that solidified Brewton-Parker’s 71-64 upset of #12 ranked Lee University in overtime during Saturday’s homecoming game. - photo by Photo by Kelley M. Arnold
MOUNT VERNON -- The Brewton-Parker College men’s basketball team hosted the 12th ranked team in the nation, Lee University, before a raucous homecoming crowd in the Gillis Gym on Saturday in Mount Vernon.The Barons doused the highly rated Flames 71-64 in overtime to claim one of the biggest wins in the school's NAIA history. The victory was the second consecutive SSAC win for the Barons and moves them into solid contention to make the conference playoffs. In a battle of two completely different halves, the Flames controlled the first 20 minutes, racking up a 29-20 advantage. The Barons regained their confidence early in the second half and out-scored Lee 29-20. In overtime, Brewton-Parker took command early.The game was the third contest of the week and fifth in 11 days for Coach John D. Jones' team. “We have not had a day off in 12 days, and I wasn't sure where our energy level would be. But we showed tremendous heart and resiliency when it mattered most,” Jones said. “I'm very happy for our seniors.” Brewton-Parker has experienced a dramatic turnaround since a slow start earlier in the season. The win improved the Barons conference slate to 7-8 on the year — good enough for sixth place in the SSAC standings. Lee falls to 11-4, two games behind conference-leading Auburn-Montgomery. The top eight teams earn a bid to the conference tournament in March.The game was tied at 46 in the final minutes of regulation when Lee's Paco Diaw drove the lane, but had his shot blocked by Maurice Veal. A foul was called on the play and Diaw sank one of two free throws to give Lee a 47-46 margin with less than a minute remaining. With the shot-clock ticking, Jurbien Byrd sank a long 3-pointer from near the top of the key to give the Barons a stunning 49-47 lead. After a Lee timeout, the Flames quickly came down the court and Diaw drove for the basket and fired up a shot that missed. However, Harold Griffin was there for the tip-in with 1.4 seconds remaining.  Brewton-Parker was able to inbound the ball the length of the floor and get a clean look for Nathan Greene, but the potential game-winning shot was long. The overtime, however, was all Brewton-Parker. The Barons immediately took control much to the delight of a large homecoming crowd. The Barons were significantly better in two key areas, rebounding and taking care of the basketball. Lee turned the basketball over 28 times to just 11 for Brewton-Parker. Lee also saw the Barons grab 23 offensive rebounds to 13 for the Flames. "Coach challenged us to focus on executing our defensive game plan and rebounding, and the offense would come off our defense," said Byrd, who was one of four seniors honored on Senior Day. "We haven't beat Lee since I've been here, so this is a great way to go out."On the day, the Barons fired up 34 treys against the Flames and found a way to convert nine of those attempts. All but two came during the second-half comeback.In fact, it was a pair of reserves, Greene and Quintereal Kelley, who sparked the Barons uprising. Greene, who is one of the top 3-point shooters in the nation, came off the bench early in the second half and nailed a pair of treys, while Kelley followed with one of his own to help get the crowd and the Barons back in the game. Kelley finished with 10 points and Brandon Barron sank important free-throws in overtime.Lee found points hard to come by, as the Barons stifling defense forced 28 turnovers and limited the Flames to 36 percent shooting from the field. Stephen McClellan paced Lee’s scoring with 14 points, while Elmar Kuli-Zade had 13 points. No other Lee player reached double-figures in scoring. In addition to Kelley, the Barons were led by Byrd with a game-high 23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Point guard Barron contributed 13 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. Seniors Maurice Veal had 5 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, and Ryan Moore put up 4 points and 2 assists.Brewton-Parker College is back in action when they travel to Montgomery, Ala., for a game at Faulkner University on Thursday. Game time is at 7 p.m. central time.
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