Posted: Feb 23, 2013 7:29 PM
Updated: Feb 23, 2013 8:31 PM
FAYETTE, MO -- Alex Barner and Central Methodist continued its run of recent success after dispatching Baker (Kan.) 64-50 in Heart of America Athletic Conference men's basketball play on Saturday in Puckett Fieldhouse.
Barner, Elliott Black, Eric Franklin, Derek Kitch and Robert Mason pulled out a win in their final regular-season contest in Puckett Fieldhouse while also snapping a three-game losing streak to the Wildcats in dominant fashion. Central Methodist (18-11, 11-6 HAAC) has now won four in a row and is 6-1 in its last seven games, while Baker (14-13, 7-10 HAAC) has dropped five consecutive contests.
After hitting a game-tying three at the end of regulation in last Saturday's four-point overtime win against Benedictine (Kan.), Barner pumped in a double-double with a season-high 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Barner opened the game with one of his three treys on Saturday to give the Eagles an early lead before Michael Banks, Jr. drained a bucket from distance at the 8:05 mark in the first half that got the Eagles rolling. The Green and Black closed the period on an 8-0 spurt, with the last five coming from Barner, and took a 32-22 advantage into halftime.
After netting only 17 points as a team in the first 20 minutes of a Jan. 19 loss in Baldwin City, Kan., the Eagles scorched the nets on Saturday, hitting 52 percent (13-of-25) overall. The Wildcats also started hot, shooting 61.5 percent (8-of-13) from the floor, but Barner was the difference, recording all 15 of his points in the first half.
Although the Wildcats focused on slowing down Barner in the second half, the rest of his teammates picked up the slack, and Central Methodist opened on a 7-0 run in the span of 4:42 following a bucket in the paint by Black. The Eagles' second-half advantage surged to as many as 18 points, 50-32, following a Melvin Tillman jumper in the lane, and the Green and Black held a double-digit lead down the stretch.
Black finished with 13 points. Tillman, Mason and Kitch added eight points apiece. Kitch also had six rebounds for the Eagles, who outrebounded the Wildcats 36-26 overall and 13-5 on the offensive boards.
Baker's Ben Steinlage led all scorers with 17 points. He also added nine rebounds in the losing effort. Corey Anderson had nine points on 4-of-8 shooting.
The Eagles shot 44.1 percent (26-of-59) from the field, while the Wildcats were 41 percent (16-of-39). However, the difference in the game was three-point shooting, where the Green and Black hit eight (8-of-21; 38.1 percent) treys compared to only one (1-of-6; 16.7 percent) by Baker.
Central Methodist travels to No. 25 Culver-Stockton (Mo.) on Monday for a 7:30 p.m. CT tip-off. Culver-Stockton secured at least the three-seed in the upcoming HAAC Tournament with a 101-92 win Saturday at No. 20 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.). Benedictine sits one game behind the Eagles for the four-seed with one game to play in the regular season.