Saquan Singleton has a huge all-around game to lift the No. 7 Blue Dragon men to an 86-81 overtime win on Wednesday at Neosho County (Casey Bailey/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Saquan Singleton has a huge all-around game to lift the No. 7 Blue Dragon men to an 86-81 overtime win on Wednesday at Neosho County (Casey Bailey/Blue Dragon Sports Information)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

CHANUTE – The No. 7-ranked Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team was 90 seconds away from a 1-2 start in the Jayhawk Conference season and the first loss to Neosho County in Chanute since 1965.

But the Blue Dragons knocked down six-straight free throws and held Neosho County off the board for nearly the final 2 minutes of regulation to force overtime. Once in the extra session, the Blue Dragons limited Neosho County to one field goal and forced five turnovers and pulled off an 86-81 victory on Wednesday night at the Panther Gym.

The Blue Dragons improve to 11-1 overall and 2-1 in the Jayhawk West. Hutchinson is now 2-0 in overtime games this season. Hutchinson will play host to Butler at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in El Dorado. Neosho County falls to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

Hutchinson led 60-54 with 9:55 to go in the second half, but missed eight critical free throws down the stretch and failed to maintain its lead. The Dragons led 63-61 with 6:20 to play, but Neosho County snatched it right back when Magic Reliford hit one of the Panthers' five second-half 3-pointers with 6:09 to play. The Panthers pushed their lead to 71-66 with 4:13 to play. A bucket by Chris Giles and a Boubacar Kamissoko free throw pulled Hutch with 71-69 with 3:12 to go. Brian Tolefree hit a jumper with 2:50 to go and two free throws with 1:39 left and Neosho County led 75-69.

Hutch's comeback started with two Giles' free throws with 1:05 to play to make it 75-71. Neosho turned the ball over and Rheaquone Taylor knocked down two more free throws with 52 seconds left to make it 75-73.The Panthers missed both free throws with 33 seconds left and then fouled Kamissoko in the backcourt with 27 ticks left. The Blue Dragon freshman hit both free throws to knot the score at 75. Tolefree missed a contested 3-pointer on the final possession of regulation.

Down 77-76 just 53 seconds into overtime, a steal and layup by D.J. Mitchell gave the Dragons a one-point lead. Then leading 80-77, the Dragons got a key defensive stop when Kamissoko blocked a shot and Saquan Singleton turned it into a dunk on the other end for an 82-77 lead with 2:06 to play. Mitchell then hit 1 of 2 free throws with 53 seconds left for a six-point Dragon lead.

Sal Fisher completed a three-point play with 43 seconds left to make it a one possession game. With the lead at 83-81, Rojas made 3 of 4 free throws in the final 32 seconds to secure the victory.

The Blue Dragons made a season-high 34 free throws in 51 attempts in the victory. The Dragons were 25 of 58 overall from the field (43.1 percent) with a season-low two 3-pointers in 11 attempts.

Rojas hit 12 of 17 free throws and finished with a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds.

Singleton had season highs of 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots to go with five assists and two steals;

Kamissoko had a season-high 15 points with three steals, and four rebounds. He also blocked two shots in game for the third time this season. Taylor had 13 points on 7 of 8 free-throw shooting and seven rebounds.

Tolefree had 21 points to lead four Neosho County players in double figures. The Panthers were 27 of 72 (37.5 percent) overall. The Panthers became the third-straight opponent and sixth overall this season with at least 10 3-pointers against the Dragons, hitting 12 of 33 shots from distance. The Panthers were 15 of 24 from the foul line.

The Dragons had a 45-41 rebounding advantage. The Dragons had a 42-22 advantage in points in the paint.

Hutch led 38-35 at halftime.

GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 40-6 all-time against Neosho County. … The Blue Dragons are 18-4 in overtime games in the Steve Eck era. … The Blue Dragons had a season-high 10 blocked shots.