PHILIPPI -Philip Barbour overcame a cold-shooting effort with a strong inside presence to claim a 46-37 win over Grafton Thursday night in Big 10 Conference play.
In a typical season opener, both squads struggled on the offensive side, combining for just 28 field goals.
"We couldn't hit anything from the outside," said Colt head coach Marcus Johnson, whose team was held without a field goal in the second quarter. "We were coming down and taking quick outside shots that weren't falling."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joey Kittle
Philip Barbour’s Quentin Mouser puts in two of his game-high 23 points in front of Grafton’s Chris Smith during Big 10 Conference action Thursday night in Philippi.
Relying more on its inside game, Philip Barbour took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Bearcats 17-7 to gain a 31-23 entering the final period.
"We missed a lot of easy shots," Grafton first-year coach Andy Sorine said. "We were getting some good looks but couldn't convert."
Grafton made a small run to start the final quarter as a Joe Christopher layup cut the deficit to 33-29.
Baskets from Quentin Mouser and Mason Kennedy, however, stretched the lead back to 40-32 with 2:30 left in regulation.
"Once we started to get the ball inside, we started to get on track offensively," Johnson said. "Quentin and Antonio (Dalton) really played well for us and we needed to get them the ball."
Mouser finished with six of his total points in the final frame, including a layup with 1:06 that made it 44-37 after Grafton had cut the deficit to five on a trey from Alex Gabbert.
"We got into foul trouble in the second half with our two inside guys and that hurt us,"?Sorine said.
"But I was proud of the overall effort from our team. We battled a lot of adversity and still found ourselves in the game late in the fourth quarter."
Dalton, a 6-foot-5 senior center, added 10 points and 16 rebounds for the Colts. Chance Price chipped in with eight markers and three steals.
Philip Barbour will return to action at Liberty at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Bearcats will visit the Mountaineers at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Contact Joey Kittle by email at email@example.com.