Hartsville, SC- In front of a capacity crowd in the Timberlake-Lawton Gymnasium, the Coker College Cobras fell to the defending NCAA Division II National Champion, Barton Bulldogs, 70-63, in the final seconds on Thursday night in men’s collegiate basketball. Coker trailed by just four points with 35 seconds left in the game, then a Bulldog basket and foul put Barton up by seven. JC Hafner’s (Jefferson, MD) 3-pointer with just 21 second’s left pulled Coker back within two. Barton increased the lead to five with a free throw, but Coker was unable to convert a pair of free throws of their own with just 12 seconds left, giving Barton the edge they needed to hold on for the victory.
Both teams had difficulty shooting from the charity stripe, with Coker making just 10-of-18 (55.6%) and Barton converting 24-of-36 (66.7%). The Cobras also had a tough time from beyond the arch, normally their specialty, shooting just 27 percent, while Barton shot just 39 percent from the field.
Leading Coker was Mason Ambler (Atlanta, GA) with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Ryan Fulwood (Cumming, GA) and Stevie Evans (West Columbia, SC) each had 10 points, with Fulwood adding four assists.
Barton was led by Greg Mammel (San Antonio, TX) with 17 points, while Brian Leggett (Alexandria, VA) had 16 points and six rebounds. Aaron Suggs (Wilson, NC) added 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Coker returns to the court on Saturday, as they head to Lees-McRae for a 4:00 p.m. tip-off.