Devonte Bandoo scored the final nine points of the game for the Blue Dragons as No. 6 Hutchinson defeated Barton 81-73 on Saturday at the Sports Arena. (Joel Powers/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Devonte Bandoo scored the final nine points of the game for the Blue Dragons as No. 6 Hutchinson defeated Barton 81-73 on Saturday at the Sports Arena. (Joel Powers/Blue Dragon Sports Information)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

This time is was Devonte Bandoo's turn to provide the key plays to an opponent's challenge.

With at least a share of first place on the line on Saturday, Bandoo scored Hutchinson's final nine points in the final 1 minute, 52 seconds to help the No. 6 Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team break open a one-point game and defeat Barton 81-73 at the Sports Arena.

The Blue Dragons won their seventh-straight game and improve to 12-1 overall and 8-1 in the Jayhawk Conference. Barton falls to 11-2 and 7-2. Coffeyville, which was part of the three-way tie with the Dragons and Cougars for first place entering play on Saturday, plays at Colby on Sunday.

Hutchinson was playing without head coach Steve Eck, who was serving a one-game suspension after being ejected in Wednesday's game at Butler. Assistant coach Jay Cyriac was running the controls on Saturday.

Hutchinson led 72-64 after a Tiylar Cotton 3-pointer with 3:34 to play in the second half. The Cougars answered with a 7-0 run, pulling within 72-71 after a Noah Webster 3-pointer with 2:10 to go.

That's win Bandoo took over.

On Hutch's next possession, Bandoo hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:52 to go to push the Dragon lead to 75-71. After a defensive stop, Bandoo nailed a floater in the paint with 1:16 to play to up the lead to 77-71. Bandoo then hit two free throws with 53.7 seconds left to go up 79-71.

Hutchinson outscored Barton 9-2 in the final 1:52 to pull away. Bandoo had all nine points, a rebound and blocked shot down the stretch to lead the Blue Dragons.

Bandoo finished with a game-high 19 points with seven rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots to lead Hutchinson. Bandoo had a pair of 3-pointers and was 5 of 5 from the free-throw line.

Rhymes finished with 14 points and five assists. Rob Whitfield hit three key 3-pointers and finished with 11 points and three assists. Curtis Hollis had 10 points. James Rojas finished with nine points and Kai Mitchel had eight points and eight rebounds.

The Blue Dragons shot better than 50 percent for the sixth time shooting 51.7 percent (31 of 60). The Dragons were 8 of 17 from 3-point range and 11 of 17 from the foul line. The Dragons out-rebounded Barton 43-33. Hutch had to overcome 20 turnovers, but had a season-high 10 blocked shots, getting four rejections from Sal Nuhu.

The Cougars were 27 of 70 shooting (38.6 percent), hitting 8 of 30 from 3-point range and 11 of 14 from the foul line. The Cougars had 13 turnovers.

Webster finished with 17 points to lead the Cougars. Marvin Cannon had 16 points. Kawanise Wilkins had 13 points and Keshon Montague had 11 points.

Hutchinson scored the first points of the game, but Barton scored the next nine before Whitfield hit a 3-pointer with 13:11 left in the half and Hutch trailed 9-5. A Rhymes drive to the hoop tied the game at 10 with 12:13 remaining. Barton eventually built a seven-point lead when Cannon hit a jumper with 7:46 left and Hutch trailed 22-15.

Trailing 24-17, the Blue Dragons regained the lead with an 11-0 run. When Hollis nailed a 3-pointer with 4:54 to play, the Blue Dragons led 28-24. Hutch pushed the lead to seven when a Hollis fastbreak layup gave the Dragons a 40-32 lead with 1:25 to go. Barton scored the final five points of the set and closed within 40-37 at halftime.

Hutchinson shot 56.7 percent in the opening half, but Barton scored 12 points on 11 Hutchinson turnovers to stay close.

Whitfield hit a 2-pointer, then a 3-pointer on Hutch's first two possessions of the second half to lead 45-37 with 19:29 to go. A Nuhu jumper with 16:26 left made in a 10-point lead at 49-39. The Dragons had 10 other 10-point leads at 51-41 and 53-43, but Barton scored six straight and pulled within 53-49 with 13:44 left after four-straight Webster free throws.

Another Whitfield 3-pointer answered that Barton challenge to push the lead back to seven. A Wilkins 3-pointer tied the game at 58 with 9:39 left, but a Hollis jumper with 8:42 left helped the Dragons take the lead back.

With Hutchinson leading 62-60, the Blue Dragons used an 8-1 run to build a 69-61 lead with 4:17 to play after a Rhymes 3-pointer. Then Cotton's 3-pointer with 2:47 remaining gave the Dragons a 72-64 lead. That's when Barton scored seven in a row to cut the Dragon lead to 72-71 with 2:10 to go.

Hutchinson is now off until January 3 when the Blue Dragons travel to Cowley.