Going into Saturday nightís Jayhawk West Conference tilt with defending conference champions Barton County, the Seward County Saints were looking to prove that their 21 point thumping of previously undefeated #8 Hutchinson Wednesday night was no fluke. On Barton Countyís home turf, the Saints did just that coming away with a 10 point win and taking leads as big as 24 points throughout the night.
Seward started the contest hot getting 10 points in the paint in just the games first four minutes to steak themselves to a 7 point lead. This would be a sign of things to come as Seward continued to get high percentage shots throughout the first half and shooting 58% from the floor in the first 20 minutes as they stunned the Cougar crowd to the tune of a 47-27 Saints lead at halftime. At the break Seward was led by 10 points and 7 assists from Tony Smith and 23 points and 6 rebounds combined inside for Marky Nolen and Latiq Agard.
The second half started how the first ended for the Saints as they came out of the gates playing well again and stretched their lead out to 24 four minutes in. Thatís when the momentum shifted for the Cougars and in the next 10 minutes Seward would see their lead of 24 slip down to 6 and then to 4 with just four minutes remaining on the clock. After Dennan Morrow knocked down a three-pointer to cut the Seward lead to 4, Marcus James answered with a monster dunk on the other end to push the lead back to 6 in favor of Seward. The two would trade buckets and the Saints would be up 7 as Marky Nolen finished an old fashioned three point play to put Seward up 75-68 with just under three minutes to play. Collin Beatty would splash a three home for Barton to again cut the Seward advantage to two possessions at 75-71 but James answered the bell again and slammed home his second one handed dunk in less than two minutes to give the Saints big mo back and again put them up 6. Seward would play well in the waning moments of the game and knock down their free throws at the end to keep Barton County from ever getting themselves any closer as the guys in green won 83-73 as the final horn sounded to move to 2-0 in Jayhawk West Conference play.
While they cooled down in the second half offensively, Sewardís superb free throw shooting down the stretch allowed them to salt the game away as they converted on 16 of 19 second half shots from the charity stripe and 23 of 28 overall in the contest. The Saints finished the game shooting exactly 50 percent while Bartonís 48% second half helped them finish the game shooting a respectable 42% from the floor. Latiq Agard finished with a team high 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting for the Saints while Marky Nolen chipped in with 14 points and 7 rebounds inside. Donte McCarter had 13 points in his second start of the season while Marcus James ended the night with 11 points and 6 boards. Tony Smith was held scoreless in the second half but still finished with 10 points and 9 assists while Jon Tassin reached double digits for the first time in 5 games with 10 points of his own. Seward never trailed in the game and finished the contest outscoring Barton County 46 to 18 inside the paint.
Wednesday the Saints will hit the road again looking to go 3-0 in conference play as they head to Colby to take on a much improved Trojans team at 8:00 in the Community Building. With their record now at 8-3, Seward will next see action in the Greenhouse on Friday and Saturday in the Pizza Hut Classic where they will host Colorado Christian University Friday night followed by Jayhawk East member Labette on Saturday.