ANDERSON, S.C. – Top-seeded Anderson beat back a determined upset bid by eighth-seeded Barton and finally knocked out the Bulldogs, 69-66, in overtime Friday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson, 30-2, and winners of 28 straight, advances to face the winner of the Lander-Carson Newman nightcap on Saturday. The loss ends Barton's season at 24-6.
"A win is a win and we will take it," said Anderson head coach Jonathan Barbaree. "This time of year it is about getting the win. I am proud of my team for not giving in and fighting back. We made some clutch free throws and we got a couple of stops. Barton has two of the best post players physically you will see and they had their way with us."
Anderson was led by South Atlantic Player of the Year Alexy Mollenhaurer, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Ace Easter added 17 points and 10 rebounds and Madison Baggett chipped in 11 points.
Barton's Kianna Wynn led all scorers with 24 points. Shanika Peterkin had 21 points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Anderson struggled from the field the entire game. The Trojans shot just 31 percent for the game and made just six baskets in the final two quarters. At one point, the Trojans missed 12 straight shots from behind the arc.
The difference in the game was the free throw line. Anderson was 20-for-24, while Barton was just 7-for-17. The Bulldogs were 1-for-7 from the line in the final 1:16 of regulation.
After two straight baskets by Wynn gave Barton a 64-62 lead in overtime, Anderson got a 3-point basket from Baggett to take a 65-64 lead with 2:10 to play. After Wynn scored again, Taylor Hair scored for the Trojans to give Anderson a 67-66 lead with 1:20 to play.
Barton missed its final four shots from the field, including two from point-blank range with less than five seconds to play. Anderson made two of four free throws in the final 9.9 to seal the victory.
Dinah Neal scored on a drive with 40.6 to play in regulation to give Barton at 60-58 lead. Mollenhauer missed a mid-range jumper from the baseline and Barton took possession with 51.4. After two fouls by Mollenhauer, Wynn went to the line and missed two free throws to keep Barton's lead at 60-58.
Mollenhauer was fouled with 14.8 left and made two free throws to tie the game at 60.
Barton's final possession in regulation ended in a tipped pass to send the game to overtime.
With the game tied at 58, Anderson had four shots to take the lead but could not get the go-ahead bucket. The Trojans used a 9-0 run take a 48-45 lead with 2:42 left in the third quarter. But the Bulldogs answered with a 6-0 run to take a 51-48 lead with one quarter to play.
Anderson snapped a tie at 13 with an 8-0 run to take a 21-13 lead with 1:33 remaining in the first quarter. Three baskets in four possessions by Wynn gave Barton a 10-7 lead with 5:52 left in the first quarter.