BLUE DRAGONS SURVIVE ROUGH OFFENSIVE OUTING TO TOPPLE BUSTERSJanuary 8, 2013
HCC Sports Information
The No. 4-ranked Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team survived season-low marks for points scored, made field goals and rebounding margin, but still walked out of the Sports Arena on Monday night with a 65-58 Jayhawk West victory over Garden City.
Hutchinson was limited to 22 of 49 shooting (44.9 percent), including just 2 of 6 from 3-point range by the Broncbusters. Garden City was the eighth team this season to out-rebound the Blue Dragons. The Busters held a 43-32 advantage. The minus-11 rebounding margin was a season-worst for HCC.
But the Blue Dragons managed to remain unbeaten at 16-0 overall and 2-0 in the Jayhawk West. HCC’s 16-0 start ties for the fourth-best start to a season with the Jayhawk West champion 2003-04 Blue Dragons. HCC’s current 16-game winning streak ties for the eighth longest win streak in team history.
Sophomore A.J. Spencer scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to lead the Blue Dragons. Spencer was 5 of 8 shooting, including a key 3-pointer and was a career-best 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. Spencer added four rebounds, three assists, a steal and blocked shot.
Freshman Kadeem Allen finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Sophomore Alex Davis had 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Sophomore Rozell Nunn had 11 points and three rebounds.
Hutchinson turned the ball over just 11 times, the second fewest turnovers this season for the Blue Dragons.
Defensively, the Blue Dragons played well, holding Garden City to 37.1 percent overall from the field (23 of 62). HCC forced 17 turnovers and had a team season-high 10 blocked shots. Davis had four rejections and freshman Tafari Whittingham had three.
Chris Hall scored 19 points to lead Garden City (8-8, 0-2). Reubon King had 14 points. Jade Cathey had six points and a game-high 15 rebounds, the most by a Blue Dragon opponent this season.
Garden City got off to a great start, scoring the game’s first eight points. Hutchinson finally got on the board 5 minutes, 5 seconds into the game on a Spencer baseline jumper. The Dragons scored 10 of the game’s next 12 to tie the game at 10-all with 10:10 to play on an Allen basket.
Hall buried a 3-pointer to give Garden City a 13-10 lead and HCC answered with 16-2 run over the next 7 minutes, 10 seconds. Allen hit a 3-pointer and then fed Spencer for an inside hoop to give Hutchinson a 26-15 lead with 2:23 to play
A Davis putback dunk with 50 seconds left sent the Blue Dragons into halftime leading 30-20.
Garden City opened the second half on a 6-1 run over the first 1:33 of the second half to pull within 31-26 with 18:27 to play. The Blue Dragons answered that Buster challenge with a 12-4 run to lead 41-28 on a Nunn inside hoop with 14:48 to play. The lead was pushed to15 (47-32) after two Spencer free throws with 12:15 to go.
The Blue Dragons then went without a field goal for a stretch of 6:01 in the second half and Garden City went on a 15-3 run to pull within 48-44 after a King layup with 6:42 to go in the game. Spencer broke the field-goal drought with a made jumper with 6:28 to go, but Garden City continued to charge, pulling within 50-47 with 4:46 remaining.
Spencer hit a 3-pointer with 4:32 to go, but the Busters wouldn’t relent. Garden City twice pulled within one point, the second coming at 55-54 with 3 minutes to play. Davis scored and Spencer hit 1 of 2 free throws to inch the lead to two possessions at 58-54 with 1:40 to go.
HCC hit 6 of 8 free throws in the final two minutes to hold off the Busters.
Hutchinson held Garden City to 35.0 percent shooting in the second half (14 of 40).
The Blue Dragons will close out a three-game-in-five-day stretch on Wednesday in an 8 p.m. game at Butler Community College.
GAME NOTES – This was all-time victory No. 1,613 for the Blue Dragons. … This was HCC head coach Steve Eck’s 94th Blue Dragon victory. … HCC has been out-rebounded in 8 of 16 games this season. … Sophomore point guard D’Von Campbell missed Monday’s game with an injury. … HCC held its seventh opponent to less than 40 percent shooting this season. … HCC limited Garden City to 20 points in the first half, an opponent low this season. … HCC is 123-46 all-time vs. Garden City. … Kadeem Allen had a season high with two blocked shots. … This was A.J. Spencer’s third 20-point game this season. … Tafari Whittingham’s three blocked shots was a season high.