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Dragons Fall to No. 11 Tigers at Arena


By Hutchinson CC Sports Information


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The No. 19-ranked Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team fell into a 19-point first-half hole Saturday night against No. 11 Cowley at the Sports Arena and never quite climbed out.

The Blue Dragons had a six-game winning streak snapped after Cowley shot 62.5 percent in the second half and defeated Hutchinson 83-70.

Hutchinson is 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the Jayhawk Conference heading into the holiday break. The Blue Dragons return to action on January 3 at Butler and return home to place Northwest Tech on January 6. The Tigers won their 10th game in a row and take sole possession of first place in the KJCCC at 12-1 overall and 7-0 in the league.

The first 13 1/2 minutes of the game were tough offensively for the Blue Dragons, hitting only 4 of 19 shots with six turnovers. Cowley hit five early 3-point goals and the Blue Dragons trailed 34-15 with 6:38 to play in the opening half.

The Blue Dragons closed the half with a 15-1 run to close the half and trailed 35-30 at intermission.

The Tigers reasserted themselves in the second half with a 15-7 run to build a 52-40 lead with 14:17 to play. The Dragons made several mini-runs at Cowley in the second half getting as close as six points twice, the second time at 75-69 after a Dallas Whitney 3-pointer with 2:32 to play. Cowley finished off the game since a 10-1 run.

Held scoreless in the opening half, Kamryn Thomas led the Blue Dragons in scoring with 14 points. Thomas had seven rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal.

Valentino Simon had his third-straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Simon was 4 of 8 shooting with a 3-pointer.

Dre Weathers and J.P. Ricks scored 11 points each. Weathers had four rebounds and Ricks added five assists.

The Blue Dragons shot a season-low 32.9 percent (23 of 70), hitting 7 of 20 from 3-point range and 17 of 27 from the free-throw line. The Dragons were 8 of 31 shooting with three 3-pointers in the first half and 15 of 39 with four 3-pointers in the second half. Hutchinson out-rebounded Cowley 48-38 and had only 13 turnovers to Cowley’s 14.

Cowley shot 47.8 percent (32 of 67) for the game, hitting 9 of 16 from the 3-point line and 10 of 15 from the foul line

Corey Thomas Jr. had 21 points and Jeff Nwankwo had 19 points to lead the Tigers. Damare Smith had 14 points of 4 of 7 3-point shooting for the Tigers.

GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 88-48 all-time against Cowley, going 41-15 in games played in Hutchinson. … The Blue Dragons are 1-1 against ranked opponents this season. … The Blue Dragons were out-scored 42-26 in the paint.