Liberal, Kansas – After falling short on the road in Coffeyville just a few days ago, the Seward County Saints men’s basketball team stepped foot on the floor inside of the Green House to take on the #8 nationally ranked Cougars where despite a big second half surge, the Saints were unable to recover from the hole they dug in the first, losing 69-53 to Barton at home.

Problems started early for the Saints as they were unable to hold back the Cougars who shot out in front 11-0 before Amir Whitlock knocked down the first shot of the afternoon for Seward County and a few possessions later Blessin Kimble made a big man slam on the fast break to close the deficit to eight as Barton remained ahead 13-5. Malakye Cunningham knocked down a three from the parking lot to keep the Saints within reach at 22-11 but an 8-3 push from the Cougars sunk SCCC back down to 30-14 before heading into the halftime break with Barton ahead by twenty 35-15.

Offensively the second half was a complete opposite for the Saints with Kimble starting the opening minute off with a monster slam and combined with Mervin Hope for a 6-0 run to put the score at 35-21 with momentum in Seward County’s favor. Kimble once again found his rhythm with a turnaround jumper that closed the lead further to 38-25 with the Cougars refusing to back down. Lovasoa Andriatsarafara met Barton at the rim for a block that would make Dikembe Mutombo proud, creating a long range three from Carson Bennett that cut the Cougar’s lead to single digits 40-31, but that was the closest the Saints were able to get the rest of the half. Kobe McGowan threaded the needle to Jaden Martin for a posterizing dunk to keep the deficit at nine 56-47 and an alley-oop slam by Kimble sent Seward County into the under 8:00 timeout down 53-44. Through the last few minutes Barton was able to stretch their lead back out and finally finished off the Saints 69-53 on Seward County’s home court.

Kimble ended the game with a game high of 16 points to go with 9 rebounds while Bennett knocked down four threes for 12 points.

The Saints now fall to 3-7 overall in the 2023-24 season and now sit at 1-5 in conference action against Jayhawk Conference opponents. They will wrap up 2023 with two road games in the next week, facing Northern Oklahoma Tonkawa and Indian Hills to close out the year.