[ By STEVE CARPENTER ]
[ BLUE DRAGON SPORTS INFORMATION ]
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Freshman sharpshooter Tyler Brown provided a huge offensive spark with a career night to help the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team snap a two-game losing streak on Wednesday at the Sports Arena.
Brown scored a career-high 17 points, hitting several key 3-pointers to lift the No. 22 Blue Dragons to an 81-68 victory over Northwest Kansas Tech as the second round of playing Jayhawk West teams began.
The Blue Dragons move to 19-5 overall and 10-5 in the Jayhawk West. Hutch is alone in third place in the Jayhawk West, one-half game ahead of Colby, which had its game with Dodge City postponed. Hutch is still two games off the pace of Jayhawk West leader Seward County. Northwest Tech falls to 12-12 and 4-11 in league play.
Brown had an early 3-pointer to help the Dragons to a quick 10-0 lead. He hit his second to start a 7-0 run to expand Hutch’s first-half lead to 29-12. Brown’s final two treys had even more impact.
After Hutch built leads as large as 23 points in the second half, Northwest Tech whittled that deficit down to 10 points (67-57) with 4:14 remaining. Brown nailed a 3-pointer with 4:06 left to slow the Maverick comeback. He took all the wind out of Tech’s sails at the 2:46 mark when his fifth 3-pointer gave the Blue Dragons a 76-61 lead.
Brown was 5 of 6 shooting, all shots were from distance, and he went 2 of 2 from the free-throw line for a career-high 17 points.
James Rojas scored a team-high 19 points on 8 of 16 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers. Rojas also had nine rebounds.
Rheaquone Taylor finished with 14 points and four boards. Saquan Singleton and Chris Giles scored nine points each.
The Blue Dragons shot 50 percent for the fourth-straight game hitting 30 of 60 total shots, going 8 of 12 from 3-point range and 13 of 19 from the free-throw line. The Blue Dragons had 19 assists on 30 makes and 12 steals, but had 19 turnovers.
Miles Gibson scored a game-high 20 points on 9 of 20 shooting. He posted a double-double with 10 rebounds. Henry Hampton had 17 points. The Dragons held Tech’s second-leading scorer, Chris Freeman, to seven points on 3 of 12 shooting.
Northwest Tech finished shooting 43.3 percent (26 of 60), hitting 3 of 11 from 3-point range and 13 of 18 from the foul line. Tech had 17 turnovers.
The Blue Dragons jumped out to that early 10-0 lead by holding Tech without a field goal for the first 4:30 of the game. The Mavericks got within eight points three times after that early surge, but Hutch answered every time with buckets by Taylor, Fred Odhiambo and Josh Perkins.
Brown’s 3-pointer at the 8:17 mark started a 7-0 Hutch run that extended the lead to 29-12 with 5:33 to play in the half. Tech closed the first half on a 15-7 run to pull within 36-27 by halftime.
Hutch had a strong start to the second half with a Taylor jumper, Chris Giles layup and Odhiambo dunk to lead 42-27 with 18:13 remaining. Brown’s 3-pointer with 14:09 to play in the half gave Hutch an 18-5 run and a 54-33 lead.
Over the next 10 minutes, Northwest Tech slowly chipped away at the Dragons. A Hampton 3-pointer at the 4:15 mark – Hampton was also fouled on the play – pulled the Mavericks within 65-56. That led to a wild sequence as Hampton was called for his second technical foul of the game on that same play and was ejected. Brown hit both technical free throws while on the other end Brandon Beloti completed the four-point play on the made 3-pointer. Hutch led 67-57 after that and Brown nailed a 3-pointer, which spelled the beginning of the end for Northwest Tech.
Coach Eck talked the game’s quick start and how it propelled them in future quarters:
Hutchinson is in the midst of another stretch of four games in eight days. The Blue Dragons are on the road for the next two – Saturday at Garden City (4 p.m.) and Monday at Pratt.
GAME NOTES – This was Hutchinson’s all-time 1,799th victory. Hutch is now 5-0 all-time against Northwest Tech. The Dragons are 10-2 at home this season. This was the 11th time this season for Hutch to shoot 50 percent or better. Hutch’s bench outscored Northwest Tech’s 39-11.