03/22/07 — Barton in Final Four

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Barton in Final Four

Published in Sports on March 22, 2007 2:40 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Senior guard Anthony Atkinson dribbled the length of the floor and drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to lead Barton to an 83-81 overtime victory over Grand Valley State in the Elite Eight at the Mass Mutual Center on Wednesday afternoon.

The game featured 17 lead changes and 13 ties, and the advantage changed hands seven times throughout the extra session.

Barton will now meet Cal. St. San Bernardino (26-5) in a national semifinal affair today at 6 p.m.

"If I got past the guard, the big man was not going to stop me. If a double team was coming, who was going to be open? That was it. I took the shot. It looked real good leaving my hand because I lined it up in the middle of the court. I just wanted the ball," said Atkinson.

The Bulldogs (29-5) ran their overtime record to 9-0 on the year in the process. Meanwhile, Grand Valley State (29-5) had its first Elite Eight appearance halted. Both clubs shot exceptionally well during the final five minutes. Barton went 5-for-5 from the floor, while Grand Valley State finished 4-for-5.

"We're not big. We're not physical. We're small in stature, but we have incredible heart," said Barton head coach Ron Lievense.

Atkinson tossed in eight of his game-high 32 points in the extra session, while sophomore guard Bobby Buffaloe and senior forward Alejo Barovero wound up with 14 and 11 respectively for the Bulldogs.

Senior center Dan Redder and senior forward Mike Hall led the Lakers. Hall finished with 21 points and nine boards, while Hall recorded his third "double-double" in the last six games with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Kyle Carhart added 15 points.

Grand Valley State rallied from an 11 point, 47-36, deficit with 16:24 remaining by going on a 14-3 run that deadlocked the game at 50-50 with 12:13 left. Junior forward Callistus Eziukwu and sophomore guard Pete Trammell both converted in the lane to ignite the spurt, while Carhart capped with a pair of free throws.

Neither team was able to gain more than a four point advantage the rest of way although both clubs had a chance to seal it in regulation. Barton junior center Brian Leggett could not get his shot to go down inside with eight ticks remaining, while Hall's jumper from the left corner at the other end rattled out at the buzzer.

Cal St. San Bernardino 100,

Wingate 73

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Cal St. San Bernardino shot 61.3 percent (38-for-62) from the floor and forced 29 Wingate turnovers en route to a 100-73 victory in the opening round of the Elite Eight this afternoon at the Mass Mutual Center.

The Coyotes (26-5) will now meet Barton (29-5) in a national semifinal contest today. Barton advanced with an 83-81 overtime victory against Grand Valley State earlier today.

"I thought the guys came out with a tremendous amount of focus. They stuck to the game plan and played pretty well. We were hoping we could turn them over. Their turnovers got them back on their heels," said Cal St. San Bernardino head coach Jeff Oliver. "I wasn't ready to go home and neither was the rest of the team, so we stepped it up today."

"It's the first time in two years that we've been taken out of a game. The difference was our inability to handle their pressure. I think we're a better basketball team than what we showed today," said Wingate head coach Parker Laketa. "The better team won. They're going to make a real run at the national championship."

Senior center Ivan Johnson finished with 25 points, on 8-for-12 shooting, and a career-high seven assists to lead five Cal St. San Bernardino players in double figures scoring. Senior swing Chet Johnson tossed in 15, while senior forward Yoseph Yaisrael and senior guard Prentice Harris had 12 each. Junior point guard Lance Ortiz wound up with 11 points in 19 minutes off the bench.

For Wingate (25-9), junior guard Sean Barnette had 21 points and senior guard Shaun Kirkland had 17. Junior forward Bryan Grier contributed 15 points and nine rebounds, while senior guard Justin Baker finished with 10 points and six boards.