[ By STEVE CARPENTER ]
[ BLUE DRAGON SPORTS INFORMATION ]
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Freshman Saquan Singleton scored 21 points in the second half to help the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team’s first home game in 34 days turn into a victory.
Singleton’s 21 points were a career high as the No. 12-ranked Blue Dragons defeated the Cowley Tigers 85-76 on Saturday night at the Sports Arena.
The Blue Dragons improved to 14-2 overall and 5-2 in the Jayhawk West. Hutchinson travels to Northwest Kansas Tech at 8:30 p.m. on Monday in Goodland. Cowley falls to 11-7 overall and 3-5 in the Jayhawk East.
After playing only 3 minutes in the first half before sitting with two fouls, Singleton didn’t take long to get going in the second half. Two free throws at the 18:39 mark of the second half started a run of 17-straight points scored by Singleton over a stretch of 4 minutes, 50 seconds. At the end of Singleton’s personal onslaught, the Blue Dragons led 57-48.
Singleton was 7 of 10 shooting and were a perfect 7 of 7 from the free-throw line. His seven field goals were also a career high and Singleton finished with eight rebounds.
Sophomore Rheaquone Taylor had his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds with four assists and two steals.
Hutchinson finished shooting 41.8 percent (28 of 67), hitting 3 of 8 from the 3-point line and 26 of 30 from the free-throw line. The Blue Dragons out-rebounded Cowley 46-41 and had only 12 turnovers.
The Blue Dragons shot only 38.5 percent in the first half, going 6 of 9 from the free-throw line to lead only 38-37 at halftime. Hutch improved to 46.4 percent shooting and went 20 of 21 from the free-throw line as the Blue Dragons outscored Cowley 47-39 in the second half.
Darius Harrison posted a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead to lead the Tigers. Brenden Van Dyke had 14 points and Deng Bol had 13. Cowley was 30 of 73 shooting (41.1 percent), going 5 of 18 from 3-point range and 11 of 19 from the foul line.
There were six early lead changes and one tie in the first half. The Dragons had a five-point lead with 13:02 to play, but the Tigers scored five unanswered to tie the game at 14 with 11:39 to go.
Fred Odhiambo hit a short jumper in the lane to start a 15-4 Blue Dragon run. Hutch scored second in a row with a Boubacar Kamissoko 3-pointer, Jacobs jumper and a Kamissoko tip in boosted the Dragons to an 11-point lead at 29-18 with 7:34 remaining in the first half.
Two Deng free throws cut the Dragon lead to 29-26 with 4:31 to play. Taylor countered with a pair of free throws to give the Dragons a 34-26 lead with 3:37 to go. The Tigers finished the half on an 11-4 run as Hutchinson led 38-37 at halftime.
Singleton carried the Blue Dragons early in the second half. A 42.9 percent free-throw shooter for the season, Singleton hit all seven of his free throws. His 3-point play with 15:44 to go gave the Dragons a 51-44 lead. Singleton’s personal run ended with a bucket in the paint that gave the Dragons a 57-48 lead.
Two Giles free throws bumped the Dragon lead to 61-50 with 12:30 remaining. Cowley’s 8-2 run cut the Hutch lead to 63-58 with 10:07 left after a Karl Drammeh score,
Hutch pushed is lead to double figures three more times, building a 79-67 lead after a Giles 3-pointer with 3:31 to go. Cowley never pulled any closer than seven points the rest of the way.
GAME NOTES – Saturday’s win was the 596th all-time junior college victory for Hutchison head coach Steve Eck. It was his 414th with as a Jayhawk Conference coach. The Blue Dragons earned all-time win No. 1,794. This was Rheaquone Taylor‘s third career double-double. Fred Odhiambo tied his career high for blocked shots with four for the third time this season.
Coach Eck commented on the pressure that Cowley presented:
Hutchinson Community College plays a conference game at Northwest Kansas Technical College on Monday, 14, at 8:30 p.m.