James Rojas had 19 points and nine rebounds in Hutchinson's 76-64 victory over Neosho County on Saturday at Chanute. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
James Rojas had 19 points and nine rebounds in Hutchinson's 76-64 victory over Neosho County on Saturday at Chanute. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

CHANUTE – The No. 1-ranked Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team saw a double-figure lead slip down to five points with 1:16 remaining and responded to the challenge to earn another Jayhawk Conference road victory on Saturday.

Sophomore Devonte Bandoo posted a double-double and freshman James Rojas had a huge effort off the bench as Hutchinson defeated Neosho County 76-64 at the Neosho County gym.

The Blue Dragons improve to 8-1 overall and is now 4-1 in the Jayhawk Conference heading into Wednesday's home contest at Colby. Neosho County falls to 3-5 and 1-4 in league play.

Hutchinson led 60-48 with 7:35 to play in the second half. The Panthers fought their way back into the game and trailed 66-61 with 2:20 to play. The Dragons closed out with a 10-3 run, going 8 of 11 from the free-throw line down the stretch.

Hutchinson out-rebounded Neosho County 50-28, getting 20 offensive rebounds. The Dragons also outscored the Panthers 27-12 from the free-throw line.

Bandoo had his first career double-double with 19 points and a career-high 10 rebounds to lead the Blue Dragons. Hitting 7 of 15 shots from the floor, Bandoo added four assists.

Rojas led a big Dragon effort off the bench with a season-high 19 points, going 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. Rojas just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Rojas helped the Dragons amass a 28-9 advantage in points off the bench.

J.J. Rhymes was the third Blue Dragon in double figures with 10 points. Robert Whitfield had nine points and Rheaquone Taylor had eight points and nine rebounds.

The Blue Dragons had their second-lowest hitting percentage of the season at 37.3 percent (22 of 59). The Dragons were 5 of 16 from 3-point range and 27 of 39 from the free-throw line.

Lual Dung had 16 points to lead Neosho County. Austin Downing added 14, Montrell Dixson had 13 and Branden Fenner had 10 points.

Neosho County shot 42.9 percent (24 of 56), going 4 of 17 from 3-point range and 12 of 19 from the free-throw line.

Trailing 11-7 in the first half, the Blue Dragons surged with a 8-0 run to lead 15-11 after a Bandoo layup with 11:51 to go in the opening half. A Bandoo 3-pointer with 6:20 to go in the half helped the Dragons reach a double-figure lead at 27-17 with 6:20 to go.

Each team shot 40 percent in the first half, but Neosho County trimmed the Hutch lead to 34-30 by halftime.

Neosho County opened the second half with a 7-0 run and took a 37-34 lead after a Fenner 3-pointer with 17:57 to go. A tip-in by Rojas snapped that run and the Dragons reclaimed the lead at 42-39 with a Whitfield 3-pointer at the 15:50 mark.

The lead grew to 10 with Rojas hit two free throws gave the Dragons a 52-42 lead with 12:14 to play. The lead grew to 12 on a Taylor dunk with 9:13 to go. The Dragons maintained a 12-point lead when Bandoo hit two free throws with 7:35 to go gave the Dragons a 60-48 lead.

A Rhymes' 3-pointer with 4:52 to go stopped a Neosho run and gave the Dragons a 64-54 lead. Neosho County put together a 16-2 run and pulled within 66-61 after a Dixson free throw with 2:20 to play.

With a 69-64 lead at the 1:16 mark, the Blue Dragons closed the game out with a 7-0 run, all seven points coming at the free-throw line.

The Blue Dragons will play host to Colby at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Sports Arena.