Hutchinson CC Sports Information
Five players scored in double figures as the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team won the battle of NJCAA No. 1 teams on Friday.
The Blue Dragons, defending Division I national champion and preseason No. 1, defeated North Lake College, the defending champion and current No. 1team in Division III, 87-62 at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
Hutchinson improves to 2-0 and will play 2-0 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. North Lake (0-1) will play the Tabor College JV at 5:30 p.m. Earlier on Friday, NEO defeated Tabor 84-52.
Freshman James Rojas came off the bench to lead the Blue Dragons with 16 points on 4 of 6 shooting with seven rebounds. Rojas was 8 of 10 from the free-throw line.
Rojas led a dominant effort in the paint for the Blue Dragons, who outscored the Blazers 50-34 in the paint.
Sophomore Devonte Bandoo had 14 points and three assists. Sophomore J.J. Rhymes and Kai Mitchell had 11 points each. Mitchell had nine rebounds and Rhymes added eight points. Mitchell also had a career-best seven assists. Curtis Hollis was the fifth Blue Dragon in double figures with 10 points. Sophomore Sal Nuhu added eight points and nine rebounds.
The Blue Dragons shot 48.3 percent overall (29 of 60), going just 2 of 17 from 3-point range and 27 of 38 from the free-throw line. Hutch had a 50-31 rebounding advantage, but had to overtime 18 turnovers.
The Lakers were 25 of 71 from the field on Friday (35.2 percent), hitting 4 of 23 from 3-point range and 8 of 10 from the foul line. North Lake had 16 turnovers.
Darrell Watson had a game-high 21 points to lead North Lake. Byrale Carter added 12.
The Dragons scored the first seven points of the game, but trailed 10-9 after a Watson layup with 14:25 to play. Leading 20-18, the Blue Dragons reeled off eight unanswered points capped by a Bandoo three-point play for a 28-18 lead with 7:27 to play in the first half.
Hutch had a 12-point lead after a Bandoo 3-pointer gave the Dragons a 33-21 lead with 6:27 to go, but the Lakers pulled within six at 33-27 after a Tremont Moore short jumper with 4:11 to go.
The Dragons regained a double-figure lead after a Rhymes 3-pointer with 1:41 left in the half gave the Dragons a 42-31 lead. Neither team scored in the remainder of the half. There were four lead changes and two ties in the first half.
The Dragons started fast in the second half as the lead grew to 16 at 48-32 after a Kai Mitchell dunk. North Lake stayed within striking distance as Watson scored with 14:02 to play cut the Hutch lead to 53-42. That was the closest the Blazers got for the remainder of the game.
A tip-in by Rojas gave the Blue Dragons their first 20-point lead at 70-50 with 7 minutes to play. The lead grew to 31 after two Josh Creach free throws with 1:11 to go make it 87-56.
Hutchinson outscored North Lake 45-31 in the second half shooting 48.3 percent. (17 of 35). The Blazers were held to 34.1 percent in the final 20 minutes (14 of 41)