Sophomore Kai Mitchell had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead the No. 13 Blue Dragons to an 83-60 victory over Seward County on Wednesday at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Sophomore Kai Mitchell had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead the No. 13 Blue Dragons to an 83-60 victory over Seward County on Wednesday at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

Needing a victory to keep pace in the Jayhawk Conference after Saturday's upset loss to Dodge City, the 13th-ranked Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team rolled by Seward County on Wednesday at the Sports Arena.

Four players scoring in double figures parlayed with a strong finish to the first half helped the Blue Dragons roll to an 83-60 victory over the Saints to sweep the season series with Seward County. Hutchinson wins its seventh-consecutive game over Seward County.

The Blue Dragons improve to 15-3 overall and 11-3 in the Jayhawk Conference. Hutch still trails first-place Barton by one game in the conference standings. Seward County falls to 11-7 overall and 7-7 in the Jayhawk Conference.

Seward County made things uneasy after Saturday's outcome as the Saints built a quick 8-0 lead just 3:12 into the game. The Blue Dragons eventually tied the game at 18-all with 7:24 to go and closed the first half on a 21-4 run to build a 17-point halftime lead.

Sophomore Devonte Bandoo led four Blue Dragons in double figures with 18 points. Bandoo was 5 of 8 shooting overall, going 4 of 6 from 3-point range. The sophomore guard added seven rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes. Bandoo had 10 points in that 21-4 run to close the first half.

Freshman Curtis Hollis came off the bench to score a conference season-high 14 points with a pair of 3-pointers. Sophomore Kai Mitchell just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds with three steals. James Rojas has 12 points and seven boards.

The Blue Dragons got their needed victory despite leading scorer J.J. Rhymes scoring a career-low four points. But Rhymes still contributed with a career-high nine assists in leading the Dragons to 26 assists on 30 made shots.

Hutchinson shot 47.6 percent for the game (30 of 63). The Dragons were 8 of 21 from 3-point range and 15 of 19 from the free-throw line. Rebounding was even at 38. The Dragons had only 11 turnovers to Seward County's 19.

The Dragons had a strong overall defensive performance holding the Saints to 34.9 percent shooting (22 of 63). Seward hit 10 of 24 3-pointers and 6 of 16 from the foul line.

Hutch had to overcome the eight 3-pointers by Seward County guard Terrell Alfred, who finished with a game-high 27 points. Alfred was 8 of 11 from 3-point range and 9 of 16 overall. The rest of the Saints were a combined 13 of 47 for the game.

Alfred had two early 3-pointers in Seward County's initial surge of the game. Seward's 3-point shooting kept the Blue Dragons at arm's length for the first 8 minutes of the first half. Trailing 13-12, the Dragons finally earned its first lead on a floating jumper by Hollis with 11:05 to play in the first half. Two Rojas free throws gave the Dragons an 18-15 lead, but Alfred struck again from distance to tie the game at 18 with 7:24 to play in the half.

Bandoo answered that Alfred 3-pointer with a trey of his own on Hutch's next possession. The Dragons scored seven unanswered points to lead 25-18 after two Rhymes free throws with 4:54 left. Back-to-back Bandoo 3-pointers extended Hutch's run to 17-4 for a 35-22 lead with 2:09 to play. Sal Nuhu then scored in consecutive possessions for a 39-22 lead with 53 seconds left to close out the 21-4 run and Hutch led 39-22 at halftime.

The Blue Dragons held Seward County to 25.8 percent shooting in the opening half.

Hutch's lead reached 20 points for the first time with 17 minutes to go on a Rojas layup, but the Saints slowly chipped away and when Alfred nailed another 3-pointer with 10:13 to play, the Hutch lead was down to 56-44.

Rheaquone Taylor stopped that run with a jump shot at the 9:46 mark. That started a 9-2 Dragon run that pushed the Hutchison lead back to 65-46 after a Rhymes bucket with 7:35 to play. Another 9-3 Hutch run helped the lead reach 25 at 78-53 on a Bandoo jumper with 3:21 left.

Hutch shot 52.9 percent and outscored Seward County 44-38 in the second half.

The Blue Dragons continue their four-game homestand on Saturday against Cloud County.

GAME NOTES – Blue Dragon head coach Steve Eck earns his 246th on the Blue Dragon bench. … Hutchinson is now 76-28 all-time against Seward County, including 45-5 at the Sports Arena. … Curtis Hollis tied a season high with six made field goals. … The 26 assists were a Jayhawk Conference season high for the Blue Dragons. … Hutch outscored Seward County 37-15 off the bench.