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PEMBROKE — A spirited rally by the Barton College men’s basketball wasn’t enough to overcome No. 22 UNC Pembroke, which held on for a 94-88 victory Tuesday.
The Bulldogs (2-4) trailed 50-35 at halftime and fell behind by 18 points early in the second half. Barton then engineered a 22-5 run to cut the margin to 62-59 with 11:48 to play. The Braves (3-1) managed to keep Barton at arm’s distance, even stretching their lead to 10 points on two occasions. The Bulldogs made it interesting when junior forward Bobby Stenborg sank two free throws and junior Zach Grant connected on a 3-pointer to slide the lead to 90-87 with 1:03 to go, but that was as close as they would get. Barton, which had a chance to tie the game, committed three of its 18 turnovers in the final 32 seconds.
Sophomore Jeff Gordon had a game-high 20 points to lead Barton while Stenborg had 18 points and eight rebounds. The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 43-38. Grant had 14 points and sophomore Michael Boykin added 13 for Barton, which shot 43.5 percent (30 of 69) from the floor and 46.7 percent (7 of 15) from 3-point range. The Bulldogs made 21 of 30 free throws (70 percent).
The Braves, who shot 52.3 percent (34 of 65), had six players in double-figure scoring, led by Nigel Grant’s 16 points. Brandon Watts and David Strother each had 15.
The teams will play again in Wilson Gym on Dec. 14 but the Bulldogs will tip off Conference Carolinas play Wednesday, Nov. 29, against Belmont Abbey, also in Wilson Gym.