Barton outscored Belmont Abbey 26-13 in the final ten minutes after the Crusaders cut the Bulldogs lead to just four at 60-56 to pull away and post an 85-71 Conference Carolinas men's basketball victory this afternoon inside the Wheeler Center.
The Bulldogs improve to 12-4 overall and 7-1 in the league, while Belmont Abbey drops to 5-11, 2-7.
Senior guard Ray Chen scored 16 first half points for the Crusaders, which traded leads with the guests for most of the first half.
Belmont Abbey's last lead came at the 6:37 mark, when the first of two Danny Shand free throws cut the lead to 21-20. Shand then tied the game at 21 on the next free throw, which started a 17-12 half closing run that gave the Bulldogs a 36-33 lead at the break.
Barton's lead was four with 1:28 to play, but Belmont Abbey scored four of the last seven points of the stanza, capped off by two Markel Pollard free throws with 25 seconds left to close the Barton lead to three.
Chen, who finished with 23 points, scored 16 of those in the first half on 6-7 shooting from the field, including one of two from three point range.
Barton turned up the pressure in the second half as the Bulldogs outscored the Crusaders 49-38 on 58 percent shooting.
The two teams traded leads until Barton pulled away at the halfway mark, raising it to as high as 15 at 73-58 on two Daniel Westbrook free throws with 6:48 to play.
Belmont Abbey came back with a 9-6 mini-run to close the gap to eight at 79-67 with 2:11 to go, but Barton knocked down four free throws and closed the game with a layup at the buzzer to earn the 14 point victory.
Chen finished with 23 points on 9-13 shooting with three assists and a steal. Nick Hough added 14 and Ben Ferguson came off the bench to post a career-high ten points on 4-5 shooting. Belmont Abbey shot 44 percent from the field but was 7-19 from three point range. The Crusaders did convert all 12 free throws.
The Crusaders are back in action Wednesday when they close out a five game homestand against the Limestone Saints. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30.