Winners of two-straight games after a tough 1-3 start to the 2012 Jayhawk West season, the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team aims to continue its surge on Wednesday night at first-place and 12th-ranked Seward County.
The Blue Dragons (16-5, 3-4 Jayhawk West) remain in seventh place in the Jayhawk West despite two-straight wins over Pratt and Cloud County. But the Blue Dragons are a single game out of fourth place and are two games out of second place. Seward County leads the Jayhawk West by one game over Barton and Colby.
Hutchinson comes off a 64-56 victory on Saturday night against Cloud County in a game where the Blue Dragons missed their first 15 and 19 of their 20 shots of the game and rallied from a 16-3 deficit to win by eight points.
Over the last two games, the Blue Dragon defense has regained its swagger. Against Pratt and Cloud County, the Dragons are allowing only 55.6 points per game, 33.6 percent from the field and 17.3 percent from 3-point range. Over the first five Jayhawk West games - HCC was 1-4 in those games - HCC allowed 75.0 points, 47.2 percent overall and 40.3 percent from long range.
Seward County went 12-2 in non-conference play and started the Jayhawk West season 5-0 before falling at the Green House 81-74 to Garden City. The Saints rebounded on Saturday with a 78-74 road win at Butler.
Hutchinson has lost five-straight game in Liberal.
Internet: The Blue Dragon Sports Network will provide a live videostream beginning at 7:50 p.m. The link to BDSN can be found at BlueDragonSports.com and click on Game Day or Broadcast Schedule.
Radio: Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and sister station KWBW-AM (1450) will broadcast live with Glen Grunwald (play-by-play) and Steve Carpenter (analysis) calling the action beginning at 7:50 p.m.
Live Statistics: Live stats will be available just before tipoff on Blue Dragon Game Day or on the Blue Dragon Sports Network Broadcast schedule at BlueDragonSports.com just before tipoff.
Hutchinson: Steve Eck is in his third season with the Blue Dragons. He has a 69-18 record with HCC. Eck is in his 14th season as a junior college head coach with a record of 391-70. Eck is in his 32 overall season as a head coach and has a 718-104 record.
Seward County: Bryan Zollinger is in his fifth season with the Saints. He is 124-34 at Seward County and is 4-4 against the Blue Dragons.
About The 2011-12 Blue Dragons
The Blue Dragons continue to recover from a 1-4 start in the Jayhawk West with improved play on both ends of the floor.
Entering play on Wednesday, the Blue Dragons are 12th in the Jayhawk Conference in scoring offense at 77.3 points per game. HCC is seventh in the league and 17th in the nation in field-goal percentage at 48.3 percent. The Blue Dragons had shot 50 percent or better in three-straight games before Saturday’s season-low 32 percent in the victory over Cloud County. The Dragons are 12th in 3-point percentage at 30.6 percent.
Defensively, the Blue Dragons are fifth in scoring defense at 65.6 points per game, eighth in defensive field goal percentage (39.4%) and leads the KJCCC in 3-point defense (26.3%).
Hutch is averaging 72.6 points per game, 45.5 percent field-goal percentage and 26.7 percent from 3-point range during conference play. Defensively, Hutchinson is allowing 71.6 points, 44.0 percent shooting and 30.9 percent from 3-point range.
Sophomores Anthony Thomas and Mark Braden continue to set the scoring pace for the Blue Dragons.
Thomas is scoring 15.6 points per game. He is shooting 49.4 percent from the floor. Braden is averaging 15.2 points per game while shooting 49.8 percent from the floor.
Freshman Alex Davis comes off the bench to average 10.6 points per game, shooting 55.1 percent from the field. Freshman A.J. Spencer averages 8.4 points off the bench. Sophomore Michael Spease has raised his average to 8.3 points per game, averaging 10.3 points per game in Jayhawk West play.
The Blue Dragons are a plus-2.7 in rebounding margin, pulling down 38.8 boards per game, which ranks 13th in the KJCCC. Thomas has a team-high 7.3 caroms per contest.
HCC turns the ball over 16.4 times per game, while forcing 18.2 turnovers. HCC averages 14.2 assists (Thomas now has a team-high 49 assists, Spencer has 47, Braden has 45 and Spease has 43), 7.4 steals (Braden leads with 31) and 4.2 blocked shots per game (Davis is ninth in the league with a team-high 1.58 blocks per game; Thomas is 10th at 1.51 per game).
Scouting Seward County
Seward County ranks fourth offensively in the Jayhawk Conference at 84.1 points per game and is tied for third in the league in scoring defense at 65.4 points per game.
The 2011-12 Saints rank fifth in the Jayhawk Conference in offensive field goal percentage at 49.2 percent and are sixth in 3-point percentage at 33.9 percent. Defensively, Seward County is 13th in field goal defense at 42.6 percent and 10th in 3-point defense at 30.9 percent. But the Saints are forcing 19.3 turnovers per game and are a plus-4.6 rebounding margin.
Four Saints average scoring in double figures. Deverell Biggs and Irvin Hollinger average 15.3 and 14.0 points, respectively. Biggs is shooting 46.7 percent with 10 3-point goals. He is second in the Jayhawk Conference in steals per game at 3.3. Hollinger is shooting 48.1 percent from the field.
Kaheem Ranson is sixth in the league in 3-point percentage at 40.7 percent. He has a team-high 35 3-pointers. He is averaging 13.7 points per game. Daveon Boardingham is averaging 11.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Boardingham is shooting 56.7 percent from the field.
Corieon Pearson is averaging 7.7 points per game and is fifth in the Jayhawk Conference in field goal percentage at 62.2 percent.
Seward County averages 37.9 rebounds per game - 14.1 offensive boards per contest - and allowed 33.9 boards. The Saints turn the ball over 15.1 times per game and leads the Jayhawk Conference in steals at 11.7 per game.
Dragons No. 2 In NJCAA In All-Time Wins
With their 76-69 victory over Seward County on Jan. 3, 2010, the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team moved past Moberly Area Community College for second place on the NJCAA all-time wins list.
The Blue Dragons are 1,588-554, a winning percentage of .742 in their 80th season of men’s basketball.
HCC played its 2,100th game on Dec. 4, 2010 vs. Harcum College.
The Blue Dragons trail only Southeastern Iowa in all-time wins. Southeastern Iowa became the first NJCAA program to win 1,600 games earlier this season.
HCC has an opportunity to close the gap on Southeastern. SCC has forfeited the remainder of the 2012 season.
With a 79-53 victory over Labette on Nov. 1, 2008, the Blue Dragons became only the third NJCAA program to post 1,500 victories.
Series History With Seward County
This will be the 81st meeting between Hutchinson and Seward County in a series that began in 1970.
The Blue Dragons own a decisive 65-25 all-time record against the Saints.
HCC is 39-4 all-time against Seward County in games played in Hutchinson. HCC owns a 25-17 record at Liberal. The Saints have won five-straight in the Green House against Hutchinson.
HCC trails 4-1 in Region VI meetings, the only victory coming in 1981,