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Resilient Dragons keep fighting back in 78-75 overtime victory over previously unbeaten Barton Community College

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PJC players celebrate after the 78-75 overtime victory over Barton Community College on Wednesday. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

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Anthony Adams is at the line for two free throws that would put give Paris a four-point lead with 11.8 seconds to play, putting the Dragons out of reach. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

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PJC coach Chuck Taylor talks strategy with his players in a time-out at the end of regulation before a five-minute overtime. (eParisExtra.com photo by Charles Richards)

By CHARLES RICHARDS

eParisExtra.com

CHANUTE, Kan. – Antonio Arnold scored 20 points and Anthony Adams scored 19 points – nine in overtime – as Paris Junior College defeated Barton Community College 78-75 on Wednesday.

Barton took a 13-0 record and a No. 9 ranking among the nation’s juco teams into the game, and the Cougars gave every indication early on that they would have little trouble from PJC.

Less than two minutes into the game, Barton led 14-5, and the lead was still 19-10 at the 12:20 mark. A basket by Delvin Dickerson with 7:12 left in the half gave Paris its first lead since the opening bucket.

The Dragons twice built up four-point leads before a 3-pointer by Kevin Kuteyi just before the halftime buzzer left PJC ahead 36-35 at intermission.

Arnold, who had been struggling from outside,knocked down four 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the second half as the Dragons built a 48-39 advantage.

But Barton battled back behind guards Turon Parker and Algie Key, who scored 17 points each for the Cougars.

The Cougars reclaimed the lead with 2:40 remaining in regulation on back-to-back goals by 6-8 freshman forward Dominique Wilson.

Barton led 68-65 with under two minutes to play, and the teams traded scoreless possessions until Paris’ Mike Harmon was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 31.4 seconds left in regulation.

Harmon made all three of his free throws, and the game went into overtime when Adams blocked an attempt in the waning seconds by Key, who at 6-4 is eight inches taller than the 5-8 Adams.

Adams opened overtime by stealing the ball and driving for a basket that put PJC up 70-68. Wilson followed with a basket and one of two free throws, giving Barton a 71-70 lead.

Adams hit a 10-footer in the lane for a 72-71 lead 2:42 into overtime. Two free throws by Key after he was fouled while shooting put Barton back ahead 73-72 as the clock went under two minutes.

Adams missed a similar 10-footer at 1:26, but darted to the basket and soared high to grab his own rebound. Seconds later, after officials stopped play to reset the shot clock, Adams scored again in the lane to put Paris ahead to stay, 74-73.

Back on the other end, Wilson turned the ball over in traffic, and the Cougars fouled Adams with 42.1 seconds on the clock. He made the first free throw to increase the lead to 75-73.

Key ran the clock down, but when Arnold fouled him with 11.8 seconds remaining, Barton’s leading scorer missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and that proved fatal.

Adams iced the game with two free throws for a four-point lead with 10 seconds left.

“How about them Dragons, huh?” PJC coach Chuck Taylor asked after the clock expired. “How about them Dragons?”

It’s the third time this season that PJC has beaten a ranked team that was undefeated at the time.

“It’s just crazy how resilient this bunch is. I don’t know what it is, but you put a number in front of ‘em (a ranked team), they’ll come out and play,” Taylor said.

Paris led for much of Tuesday’s game against Neosho County before squandering a 32-25 halftime lead and losing 68-63.

“You know, we did a whole lot of soul-searching yesterday, because that was a very winnable game that we let get away from us. But we came back and beat No. 9 gtoday, which says a lot about this team,” Taylor said.

“That’s what you play for, these kind of games. Now we get to rest for a day, and we come back and take on a very talented Angelina team on Saturday.”

The win over Barton could give the Dragons a shot of adrenaline going into the resumption of Region 14 league play on Saturday.

Or not.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been a Jekyll and Hyde team all year. Hopefully this time we can be Jekyll and not Hyde,” Taylor said.

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PJC’s Mike Harmon fires a 3-point attempt late in regulation against Barton Community College at a time when Paris trailed 68-65. Harmon missed this shot, but was fouled on another 3-point attempt later and made all three free throws, which left the game tied 68-68, resulting in an overtime. (eParisExtra.com photo by Charles Richards)

20130102 PJC-Barton County 05 Barton Community College players blocked out to no avail on this free throw by Mike Harmon after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt. The free throw went in, tying the game and forcing an overtime in which Paris won. (eParisExtra.com phto by Charles Richards)

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PJC coach Chuck Taylor talks on the court with Antonio Arnold, who made five 3-pointers Wednesday that helped Paris defeat previously undefeated Barton Community College. “I couldn’t be more prouder of him,” Taylor said. “He’s strugglerd, but I told him, ‘Son, you’e got to step up and be the player you’re capable of being.’ And he had a big second half, a tremendous second half.” (eParisExtra.com photo by Charles Richards)

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