One month ago, the Colby Trojans celebrated a victory over the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team at the Sports Arena for the first time. The Blue Dragons head to Colby on Wednesday night to return the favor in an 8 p.m. tipoff against the Trojans at the Colby Community Building.
Things have changed for both teams since Colby’s 73-67 victory on Jan. 28. The loss sent the Blue Dragons to a 1-4 start to the Jayhawk West season and three-straight home conference losses. The victory carried Colby to a 17-3 record and the brink of the Jayhawk Conference lead and an NJCAA national ranking.
Since then, Hutchinson (21-5, 8-4) has not lost since the Colby loss, winning seven in a row and vaulting from a last-place tie to second place and a game behind first-place Seward County.
Still dangerous, Colby has gone 2-5 since the Hutchinson victory and has dropped 4 of the last five games.
The Blue Dragons shot 50 percent or better for the sixth time in the conference season and earned a 71-60 victory over No. 19 Barton last Saturday at the Sports Arena.
Colby (19-8, 7-6) dropped a 77-67 decision on Saturday at Butler.
The Blue Dragons have been a good road team in 2011-12, winning 5 of 6 games away from the Sports Arena. The Blue Dragons are 14-3 all time in the Colby Community Building.
Colby is 11-2 at home, losing only to nationally ranked Barton and Seward County.
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 73-18 record with HCC. Eck is in his 14th season as a junior college head coach with a record of 395-70. Eck is in his 32 overall season as a head coach and has a 723-104 record.
Colby: Dustin Pfeifer is in his fourth season with Colby. He has a 45-72 record with the Trojans. He is 2-5 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 during a seven-game winning streak.
Entering play on Wednesday, the Blue Dragons are 11th in the Jayhawk Conference in scoring offense at 76.6 points per game and sixth in the league in field-goal percentage at 48.2 percent. The Blue Dragons have shot 50 percent or better in 6 of the last 9 games. The Dragons are 11th in 3-point percentage at 31.4 percent.
Defensively, the Blue Dragons are once again second in the Jayhawk in scoring defense at 65.3 points per game, seventh in defensive field goal percentage (39.2%) and leads the KJCCC in 3-point defense (25.3%).
Hutch is averaging 73.1 points per game, 46.3 percent field-goal percentage and 30.1 percent from 3-point range during conference play. Defensively, Hutchinson is allowing 68.5 points, 41.6 percent shooting and 26.7 percent from 3-point range.
Sophomore Anthony Thomas is HCC’s leading scorer at 14.9 points per game, 14.6 points during conference games. He is shooting 48.1 percent from the floor.
Sophomore Mark Braden is averaging 14.3 points per game while shooting 48.3 percent from the floor.
Freshman Alex Davis comes off the bench to average 11.2 points per game, shooting 56.6 percent from the field. Davis is shooting 58.3 percent and is averaging 10.3 points per game in league play.
A.J. Spencer averages 7.9 points off the bench. Rozell Nunn is averaging 8.0 points per game over his last five games.
The Blue Dragons have lost the services of sophomore point guard Michael Spease for the foreseeable future after emergency surgery on Sunday to repair a strangulated hernia. Spease was averaging 9.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
The Blue Dragons are a plus-2.1 in rebounding margin, pulling down 38.6 boards per game, which ranks ninth in the KJCCC. Thomas has a team-high 6.8 caroms per contest.
HCC turns the ball over 16.7 times per game, while forcing 17.8 turnovers. HCC averages 14.1 assists (Braden now has a team-high 64 assists, Thomas has 61 and Spencer has 47), 7.5 steals (Braden leads with 39) and 4.3 blocked shots per game (Davis is sixth in the league with a team-high 1.76 blocks per game).
Sophomore Carson Konrade pulls the trigger on a very good Colby offensive team that averages 78.3 points per game and shoots 42.1 percent from the field.
Konrade averages 14.5 points per game while shooting 44.6 percent from the floor. He shoots 39.1 percent from 3-point range and is sixth in the Jayhawk Conference in made 3-pointers per game at 2.11. Konrade is 66 of 169 from long range this season.
He leads three players who score in double figures for fourth-year coach Dustin Pfeifer and assistant Rusty Grafel, a former Blue Dragon player.
Jamie Adams averages 12.8 points per game with 43 3-pointers and a team-high 143 assists. He has 35 3-pointers and is shooting 35.0 percent from long range in conference play.
Vincent Dillard averages 12.2 points per game. He also already gotten to the free-throw line 112 times and shoots 58 percent from the stripe.
As a team, Colby is shooting 34.0 percent from 3-point range and 62.6 percent from the foul line. The Trojans are also one of the better rebounding teams with a plus-7.0 rebounding margin and allowing only 11.1 offensive rebounds per game.
Defensively, the Trojans are allowing 69.9 points per game while opposing teams are shooting 42.4 percent overall and 31.3 percent from behind the arc.
Series History With Colby
This will be the 40th meeting between Hutchinson and Colby in a series that began in 1968.
The Blue Dragons own a 35-4 all-time record against the Trojans, including the first 17 meetings in series history.
The Blue Dragons are 19-1 all-time against Colby at the Sports Arena and 14-3 at Colby.
Hutchinson and Colby have met two times in the postseason. HCC won both with the last coming in 1977.
Last season, HCC won two narrow victories over Colby, winning 80-71 at Colby and 84-78 at the Sports Arena.
The Trojans defeated Hutchinson 73-67 in the first meeting of the season on Jan. 21 at Hutchinson.
Hutchinson is 27-4 vs. Colby since the Trojans joined the Jayhawk Conference before the 1996-97 season.
Seven-Game Winning Streak Spurred On By Defense
While the Blue Dragons have been better offensively over their seven-game winning streak as compared to the 1-4 start to the Jayhawk West season, the major reason for the turnaround has been on the defensive end of the floor.
Over the seven-game winning streak, the Blue Dragons have allowed only 63.7 points per game. That is compared to a defensive average of 75.6 points through the first five games of the conference season.
Opposing teams are finding easy shots much more difficult to come by, too. Over the last seven games, Hutchinson opponents have collectively shot just 37.2 percent overall and a frigid 19.7 percent from 3-point range. During HCC’s first five league games, opponents combined to shoot 48.6 percent and 40.3 percent from 3-point range.
Offensively, the Blue Dragons are scoring better over the last six games, averaging 74.4 points per contest, compared to 71.0 in the first five games. HCC is an improved 3-point shooting team, 32.5 percent to 27.2 percent earlier in the first five games. Rebounding has improved (40.3 in last seven games to 33.6 in first five games) and assists are up (13.0 per game over the last six to 10.0 in first five).
(HCC Sports Information)