Comeback Leads Crusaders to Championship Game

Comeback Leads Crusaders to Championship Game

FRANKLIN SPRINGS, Ga. -- John Bowen's layup with 4.2 seconds remaining capped a furious comeback as No. 2-seed Belmont Abbey advanced to the 2019 Conference Carolinas championship game with a 77-76 victory over third-seeded Barton Saturday afternoon at Williamson Arena.

DeQuan Abrom, named Player of the Year at the awards brunch earlier in the day, tallied 32 points, while Bowen added 17. He was a perfect eight of eight from the field.

Belmont Abbey faces No. 1 seed and host Emmanuel on Sunday with the league's NCAA Division II Tournament automatic bid on the line.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Romeao Ferguson also reached double figures with 13 points, adding a team-high nine rebounds.
  • Belmont Abbey overcame a 50-29 rebounding deficit, the biggest of the season and a season high by an opponent.
  • The Crusaders outshot the Bulldogs 45.7 percent to 43.5 percent. The second half was the difference with The Abbey holding a 51.6 percent to 25.7 percent advantage.
  • The Barton lead was 13, 67-54 with 9:56 left, when the Crusaders made their move. A 9-0 run cut the lead to four, then it extended to 13-2, making the difference just 69-67 with 4:31 to play.
  • A Ben Ferguson three with 2:35 remaining tied the game at 72.
  • After a Barton basket, Abrom converted a conventional three-point play to put give the Crusaders a 75-74 lead. It was their first since 17-16 at 10:45.
  • Barton hit both ends of a one-and-one with 13.5 left to take go back in front, 76-75.
  • That set up the final heroics where Abrom penetrated to the baseline and dished right under the basket to Bowen. 
  • Belmont Abbey opened the game on a 7-2 run, but Barton took its first lead at 16-15.
  • With the score 20-19, the Bulldogs used 10 straight points to push the difference to double figures. The Crusaders went nearly four minutes without scoring.
  • Barton shot 61.8 percent in the opening period, compared to 41.0 percent for The Abbey. The difference resulted in a 50-38 lead for the Bulldogs at intermission.

UP NEXT

  • Belmont Abbey faces Emmanuel in Sunday's Conference Carolinas championship game. Tip-off against the top-seeded Lions is set for 2 p.m.
  • The Crusaders swept the regular-season series, including a 98-93 win on the road in the regular-season finale last week.