SHEPHERD, W.Va. — The Barton College men's basketball opened defense of its NCAA D-II National Championship Friday night with a convincing 81-58 over the host in the Shepherd University Invitational.
The Bulldogs (31-5 last season) will play Bentley, preseason No. 2 in most polls, at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon in the second round of the event. Bentley (32-1 last season and returning four starters), knocked off Pfeiffer University 93-83 in the first game of the invitational Friday night.
After being sidelined for much of the first half with foul troubles, junior Barton guard Bobby Buffaloe lit up the Rams for a game-high 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. After Barton had raced to a 39-22 halftime lead, Buffaloe swished four straight 3-pointers to open the second half, then Barton coasted to victory.
Senior guard Jeff Dalce shut down Shepherd's main offensive threat, scored nine points, pulled seven boards and snared two steals in a tremendous all-around effort for the Bulldogs. Senior 6-6 post Brian Leggett was a workhorse down low, canning 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Barton shot a torrid 50.8 percent (33-65) from the floor and limited the Rams to 35.8 percent (19-of-53). Barton was 8-of-15 from 3-point land (53.3 percent) and won the battle of the boards 38-34.
For Shepherd, which will play Pfeiffer at 6 p.m. Saturday, Liki Turner tallied 13 points while Fred Lymas and Justin Jarman netted 12 apiece.