HUTCHINSON MEN OUTLAST NO. 13 BARTON IN FIRST GAME AS NO. 1 TEAM IN NJCAAJanuary 17, 2013
HCC Sports Information
Playing its first game as the No. 1-ranked team in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball poll, the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team survived two Barton attempts at game-winning shots on Wednesday in a big Jayhawk West matchup.
The Blue Dragons won for the 18th-consecutive time to start the season, defeating No. 13 Barton 79-77 in front of a season’s-best crowd of 4,000 fans as the Sports Arena. Despite playing a very rugged non-conference schedule, the Blue Dragons played their first nationally ranked opponent this season.
Hutchinson (18-0, 4-0 Jayhawk West) led 63-48 with 9:38 remaining in the second half. The Cougars rode the hot hands of Turon Parker and Kevin Kuteyi – they combined for 26 points in the second half – to mount a comeback.
With HCC up 78-77, Barton got two missed Dragon free throws and went in transition. With a two-on-one developing, a pass glanced off the hands of a Barton player and out of bounds with six seconds remaining. HCC’s Kadeem Allen then hit 1 of 2 free throws to put the Dragons up two. Kuteyi’s desperation 3-pointer from about 28 feet out missed wide left at the buzzer.
Allen led four Blue Dragons in double figures scoring a game-high 22-points on 7 of 19 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers. Allen had five rebounds and four assists.
After being shut out from the field in the first half, sophomore Alex Davis finished with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and five blocked shots. Davis was 9 of 16 from the foul line.
Freshman Tafari Whittingham had Jayhawk West-highs of 13 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore A.J. Spencer added 10 points. Sophomore Rozell Nunn had eight points.
The Blue Dragons shot 44.3 percent overall (27 of 61), going 3 of 10 from 3-point range and 22 of 37 from the free-throw line.
HCC had a season-low nine turnovers, but were out-rebounded 52-38. The minus-14 rebound margin is a season-high for the Blue Dragons. The 52 rebounds allowed were a season high for an HCC opponent.
Turner scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half to lead Barton (16-3, 3-2) Kuteyi scored nine of his 16 points in the second half. The two Barton guards combined for six 3-point field goals. Dominique Wilson had 12 points and Andell Cumberbach had 10 points.
The Cougars shot 42.4 percent in the game (28 of 66), knocking down 9 of 16 3-poiners and 12 of 24 from the free-throw line. Barton had 17 turnovers in the game.
Hutchinson led 12-7 after a Spencer layup with 16:24 to play in the opening half. The Blue Dragons then suffered through a scoreless drought of 3 minutes, 45 seconds as Barton went on a 6-0 run to lead 13-12 with 13:51 to play on a Kuteyi 3-pointer.
A little later, Barton led 17-15, but the Dragons took the lead on back-to-back 3-point goals by sophomore Jack Pyle and Allen for a 21-17 lead with 10:5 to play. The lead grew to 29-21 with 8:25 to go on an Allen basket. The Blue Dragons were unable to pull away and the lead shrunk to 38-33 at halftime.
HCC shot 41.9 percent in the opening half to Barton’s 36.1 percent.
The Dragons continued to play solid basketball to open the second half. HCC scored the first half and its lead mushroomed to 46-33 with 18:43 to go on an Allen layup.
Hutchinson was able to maintain anywhere from a 7-to-15-point lead throughout much of the second half. The Cougars pulled within seven points (54-47) after a Parker 3-pointer with 13:28 to go. The Dragons went on a 9-1 run over the next three minutes and led 64-48 with 9:38 remaining.
Barton shot 50 percent and hit 6 of 9 3-pointers in the second half to fuel its comeback. The Blue Dragons shot 46.7 percent from the field, going 0 of 2 from 3-point range. HCC was 13 of 22 from the foul line in the second half, including just 2 of 6 from the line in the final 22 seconds.
The Blue Dragons hit the road on Sunday to take on Colby in a 4 p.m. game on Sunday at the Colby Community Building.
GAME NOTES – This was all-time victory 1,615 for the Blue Dragons. … HCC’s 18-0 start is now alone for the third-best start to a season. … HCC’s 18-game winning streak is the sixth-longest in team history. … HCC head coach Steve Eck won his 96th game on the Blue Dragon bench. … HCC is now 78-21 all-time vs. Barton. … The Dragons are 15-0 at the Sports Arena this season. … This was the ninth time this season HCC has been out-rebounded. … Allen had his third 20-point game this season. … This was Alex Davis’ third game this season with five or more blocked shots. … Allen tied a season high with two blocked shots. … Barton outscored HCC 31-9 off the bench.