Hutchinson CC Sports Information
For only the second time this season, an opponent shot better than 50 percent against the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team. Unfortunately for the Blue Dragons, their shots weren't falling as readily.
No. 6-seed Florida Southwestern State shot 52.5 percent from the field and eliminated the No. 11-seed Blue Dragons 80-65 on Wednesday in the second round of the 2018 NJCAA Men's Division I Tournament at the Sports Arena.
The 2017 NJCAA National Champion Blue Dragons end the 2018 season with a 29-7 record. On Tuesday, Blue Dragon head coach Steve Eck became the program's coaching wins leader with his 260th victory on the Hutchinson bench. Florida Southwestern State (30-2), a program in its second year of existence, advances to Thursday's quarterfinals to meet No. 3 Vincennes at 8 p.m.
Leading 6-4, an early sign of Hutch's offensive woes on Wednesday appeared with a stretch of eight-straight missed shots. The Buccaneers took the lead at 9-6 and never looked back. Kai Mitchell hit a jumper with 13:57 to play in the first half to cut the Dragon deficit to 12-10. FSW then scored seven-straight points to lead 19-10 with 12:39 to play in the half.
The Dragons showed signs of coming out of the early offensive doldrums when Rob Whitfield nailed a 3-pointer with 6:08 to play to cut the Buccaneer lead to 25-21. FSW answered with eight unanswered points to lead 33-21 after a Tremmel Murphy basket with 2:55 to play.
The Blue Dragons got a Mitchell basket at the first-half buzzer to cut the FSW lead to 37-29. Hutch shot 39.1 percent and had 11 turnovers while the Buccaneers shot 53.1 percent, the highest single-half field-goal percentage by an opponent all season against the Blue Dragons.
The second have had an ominous start as FSW scored the first four points of the period in the first 53 seconds and opened the second half on an 11-4 run to lead 48-32 after a Tra'Von Faga tip-in with 16:34 to go. FSW's lead reached 20 points for the first time when Cheese Tyler hit a jumper with 12:19 to play as the Blue Dragons trailed 62-41.
The largest deficit the Dragons faced was 23 points at 75-52 with 6 minutes to play. Hutch finished the game on a 13-5 run.
Devonte Bandoo led the Blue Dragons with 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting, hitting 3 of 16 field goals. Bandoo added five rebounds.
The Blue Dragons made 21 of 54 total free throws (38.9 percent), going 4 of 15 from 3-point range and 19 of 29 from the free-throw line. The Dragons were out-rebounded 39-31 and committed 18 turnovers.
Florida Southwestern State shot 52.5 percent from the field (32 of 61), going 5 of 16 from 3-point range and 11 of 18 from the foul line.
Faga led all scorers with 18 points on 8 of 9 shooting to lead FSW. Tyler had 14 points while ShanQuan Hemphill and Murphy had 13 points each.
As for the sophomores in the program for two seasons – Rhymes, Bandoo, Mitchell, Sal Nuhu and Tiylar Cotton – that group had a memorable two seasons that included a Jayhawk Conference championship and the 2017 national championship. The 2018 sophomores accounted for 65 victories in those two seasons.
Rhymes will finish his career as the No. 7 all-time scorer in Blue Dragon history with 1,295 points. He is also third in career free throws with 370 and fourth on the single-season list with 197 free throws.
Bandoo climbed to No. 15 in career scoring with 1,071 points. His 65 3-point field goals this season were the sixth most in team history.
Nuhu had 95 career blocks, which is ninth in team history.
GAME NOTES – The 29 victories by the 2018 Blue Dragons tied for ninth most in team history. … The 36 games played tied for seventh most in program history. … The Dragons are now 49-25 all-time in 21 NJCAA Tournament appearances. … The Dragons are 3-2 in second-round matchups. … Hutch's all-time postseason record is 199-79.