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Dragons Defeat Saints, Clinch Opening-round Postseason Bye

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By Hutchinson CC Sports Information

LIBERAL, Kan (BlueDragonSports.com) – Kamryn Thomas posted his first career double-double and Valentino Simonjust missed a double-double to lead the No. 15-ranked Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team to a key Jayhawk Conference road victory on Saturday at Seward County.

BOX SCORE

The Blue Dragons clinched one of the four first-round byes for the upcoming Region VI Tournament after defeating the Saints 74-59 at the Greenhouse. The Blue Dragons have won 10 consecutive games over the Saints.

The Blue Dragons improved to 23-4 overall and remain in third place in the Jayhawk Conference at 18-3. Hutchinson plays host to Coffeyville at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday for Sophomore Recognition Night at the Sports Arena. Seward County is now 7-19 overall and 5-15 in conference play.

The Blue Dragons are 10-0 in true road games this season.

Simon led the Blue Dragons with 19 points and nine rebound. Simon was 7 of 10 from the floor and 5 of 6 at the foul line. Simon scored 10 points in the second half.

Thomas had 13 points with a career-high 12 rebounds for his first career double-double and the 10th by a Blue Dragon this season. Thomas also blocked a career-high five shots.

Kernan Bundy came off the bench to contribute 10 points and seven rebounds with four assists. J.P. Ricks added eight points and five assists. Kobe Smith had seven points.

The Blue Dragons shot 39.0 percent overall (23 of 59), hitting 7 of 23 from 3-point range and 21 of 28 from the free-throw line. The Blue Dragons owned a 49-31 rebounding advantage and committed 16 turnovers.

Jaden Martin and Dave Olaniyi had 15 points to pace the Saints. Lovosoa Andriatsarafina had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Seward County shot 31.1 percent overall (19 of 61), going 5 of 20 from distance and 16 of 19 from the free-throw line. The Saints had 14 turnovers.

Seward County jumped out to an 8-3 lead, but the Dragons immediately responded with a 12-2 run and took a 15-10 lead after a Rick’ 3pointer with 11:55 remaining in the opening half. The Saints cut the Dragon lead to one three times over the next six minutes.

The Blue Dragons stretched the lead to six at 29-23 after a Simon transition score after a Saint turnover and to eight at 34-26 with 1:06 remaining in the half after a Bundy score following an offensive rebounds.

Dre Weathers threw down an alley-oop pass from Smith with 23 seconds to play in the half for a 36-28 Hutchinson lead at halftime.

The Blue Dragons jumped out fast to start the second half. Thomas, Ricks and Landon Wagler all hit 3-pointers in the first 2:06 of the third quarter to build a 47-28 lead with 17:54 to play. After a 6-0 Seward run, the Dragons countered with five unanswered points – a Thomas jumper and a Russell Branch 3-pointer – for a 50-34 led with 11:50 remaining in the game.

The Saints went on a 7-0 run to pull within 50-41. Seward County cut the Dragon lead to nine on four different occasions, the final time at 59-50 with 2:49 remaining.

Simon’s dunk with 2:32 to go, pushed the lead back to double figures. The Dragons outscored the Saints 15-10 down the stretch to close the game out.

GAME NOTESKernan Bundy has 15 games scoring in double figures off the bench this season. … The Dragon bench outscored Seward County’s 23-11. … The Blue Dragons are now 86-31 all-time against Seward County, including 35-20 in games at Seward County. … This was all-time win No. 1,917 for the Blue Dragons. … Now 10-0 on the road, this is Hutchinson’s second 10-win season in true road games in the last three years and the sixth 10-win road season in program history.