Hutchinson CC Sports Information
CONCORDIA – The No. 1-ranked Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team climbed back from the abyss once on Wednesday night against Cloud County at the Thunderdome. The Blue Dragons weren't able to do it a second time once in overtime.
James Rojas got a desperation shot to bounce in at the end of regulation to send the Jayhawk Conference contest into overtime, but Cloud County's Solomon Finley nailed a back-breaking 3-pointer 1:41 into overtime and the Blue Dragons dropped their first game of the season, 82-79 in overtime.
The Blue Dragons fall to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the Jayhawk Conference. Hutchinson suffers its first loss since the 2017 Region VI Tournament championship game to Coffeyville. That was a span of nine games – the first four wins of the streak came in the 2017 national tournament on the way to the 2017 national championship.
The Dragons looked to be done in regulation after Finley hit a long 3-pointer from 26 feet with the shot clock running down to give Cloud County a 71-67 lead with 27 seconds to play. Robert Whitfield countered with a Dragon 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to pull with 71-70. Finley hit 1 of 2 free throws with 4.4 seconds left. The Dragons spend the ball up the floor and got it to Rojas, who got a friendly bounce on his desperation shot to tie the game at 72 and send it to overtime.
Rojas scored again to tie the game at 74 with 3:53 to go in overtime. But Finley, who had four 3-pointers in the game, nailed another long trey with 3:19 left. Cloud scored six unanswered points as Hutchinson went scoreless for 3 minutes, 4 seconds. A J.J. Rhymes' basket with 34 seconds to go drew the Dragons within 80-79. Those free throws were the only points in the final 3 1/2 minutes as Cloud County outscored the Dragons 10-7 in overtime.
Rhymes scored a season-high 29 points and posted his first double-double of the season with 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Whitfield scored 17 points with three 3-pointers for the Blue Dragons. Rojas added 13 points and six rebounds for the Blue Dragons. Devonte Bandoo was next with seven points.
Hutchinson shot a season-low 32.9 percent (23 of 70), going 5 of 21 from 3-point range and 28 of 44 from the free-throw line. Hutch owned a 53-50 rebounding advantage, but turned the ball over a season-high 22 times.
Finley finished with a team-high 16 points to lead Cloud County. Finley knocked down 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Ramion Burt had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Alvin Thomson had 15 points.
The Thunderbirds shot 35.1 percent (27 of 77), going 4 of 14 from 3-point range and 24 of 36 from the free-throw line. Cloud had 16 turnovers.
Hutchinson trailed at halftime for the second-straight game, 32-31. The Dragons had a 24-18 lead in the first half on a Bandoo dunk, but the Thunderbirds closed the half on a 14-7 run.
Tied at 32 in the second half, Cloud County scored eight unanswered points and led 42-34 after a Burt dunk with 16:36 to go. The Dragons got back within 52-51 after a Whitfield layup with 9:57 to play. Hutch trailed by one point four different times after that, but never regained the lead in the final 20 minutes.
Hutchinson closes a four-game road trip on Saturday with a 7 p.m. contest at Pratt.