The Belmont Abbey women's basketball team turned back Barton three times under the Bulldogs basket in the final 1:07 as the Crusaders final points came at the 1:33 mark to post a thrilling 68-66 victory this afternoon inside the Wheeler Center.
Belmont Abbey defeats Barton for just the second time in the last 18 meetings as it improves to 7-8 overall and 6-3 in Conference Carolinas, while Barton drops to 5-11 overall and 3-6 in Conference Carolinas.
The contest was tight throughout until the Crusaders pulled away late and held off a late Barton charge in the final minute.
Tied at 51 through three quarters, Belmont Abbey outscored Barton 17-15 in the final ten minutes as Gabrielle Bethel scored the winning points with 1:33 to play.
The Crusaders opened the fourth quarter on an 11-6 spurt that gave them the lead for good. After Barton scored the opening basket of the period, Alexius Hampton drained a three pointer, followed by back-to-back jumpers from Alex Busch. Karimah Dean answered with a layup, but consecutive baskets from Busch and Taylor Gittings moved the lead to 62-57 with 5:42 to play.
The lead stretched out to six on a Larisa Bishop jumper with 3:56 to go, but the Bulldogs scored four of the next six points to close the Abbey's lead to 66-63 with 1:51 showing.
18 seconds later, Bethel, who notched her ninth double double of the season, scored the final Crusaders points at the 1:33 mark to extend the edge to 68-63. That lead was short lived, as Barton knocked down a three pointer on its next trip to cut the gap to 68-66 with 1:20 to go.
Remarkably, those would be the final points of the game as the final minute was filled with turnovers, timeouts and missed free throws.
With 1:14 to play the Crusaders turned the ball back over to Barton, which led to a Crusaders foul with 1:07 left. Barton missed both free throws, but Belmont Abbey turned the ball right back over to the guests on a ten second backcourt violation.
With 51 seconds left, Dinah Neal missed a tying attempt, Hampton cradled the rebound and Barton, with fouls to give, hacked, was whistled for a miscue with 30 seconds left. On the inbounds pass, Belmont Abbey ran the clock down to 21 seconds before coach Jason Williams called a timeout.
After the pause came another Crusaders turnover in the Barton end, which came with eight seconds left. Barton called a timeout to set up the final play and used the option of moving the ball to the frontcourt.
When play resumed, Barton drove hard to the basket, but the Crusaders knocked the ball out of bounds with 1.2 seconds to play.
With no timeouts, the ball came into Dean, who was all alone on the right block, but she lost the ball going up for the layup, Bethel grabbed her 12th rebound and ran out the clock to seal the win.
Bethel recorded her ninth double double and her third in as many games with 22 points on a perfect 9-9 shooting effort with 12 rebounds, one assist and a steal. Busch added 20 points while Hampton clicked for 11. Belmont Abbey shot 52 percent (29-55) from the field and converted 5-15 from three point range.
Barton led 35-33 at the half but Belmont Abbey outscored the Bulldogs 35-31 in the second half.
The Crusaders are back in action Wednesday when they close out a five game homestand against the seventh-ranked Limestone Saints. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30.