Sal Nuhu and the No. 13 Blue Dragons battle Cloud County at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sports Arena. (Joel Powers/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Sal Nuhu and the No. 13 Blue Dragons battle Cloud County at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sports Arena. (Joel Powers/Blue Dragon Sports Information)


No. 13 Hutchinson (15-3, 11-3) vs. Cloud County (6-11, 4-10)

When: Saturday, January 20, 2017

Where: Hutchinson Sports Arena

Game Time: 7:30 p.m.

Live Radio: KHUT-FM (102.9); KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5), 7:20 p.m.

Videostream: Blue Dragon Sports Network, 7:20 p.m.

Twitter: @bluedragonsport

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

After a 3-2 start to the 2018 portion of the schedule, the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team has slipped to No. 13 in the NJCAA rankings.

But back in November, the Blue Dragons were the No. 1 preseason team in the country. The team that knocked Hutchinson off that perch was the Cloud County Thunderbirds.

The Blue Dragons get a chance to even the season series at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday when the Thunderbirds come to the Sports Arena. The game will be broadcast live on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and sister stations KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5) beginning at 7:20 p.m. Rusty Hilst (play-by-play) and Dan Naccarato (analysis) calling the action. The game will also be videostreamed live on the Blue Dragon Sports Network at 7:20 p.m.

Back on November 15 in Concordia, the Blue Dragons struggled against Cloud County, but managed to force overtime as James Rojas beat the buzzer at the end of regulation. The Thunderbird outscored Hutch 10-7 in overtime for an 82-79 victory.

From that point, Hutch reeled off seven-straight wins to end the first semester in first place in the Jayhawk Conference. Losses to Cowley and Dodge City meant the Blue Dragons fell out of first place and are again chasing Barton for the top spot.

The Blue Dragons seemed to right the ship on Wednesday with a dominant 83-60 victory over Seward County at the Sports Arena. Devonte Bandoo led four players in double figures and J.J. Rhymes dished out a career-high nine of the Blue Dragons' 25 assists. Seward County guard Terrell Alfred finished with a game-high 27 points on 8 of 11 from 3-point range. But the Dragons did play well defensively overall, holding the rest of the Saints to a combined 13 of 47 for the game and the team to 34.9 percent from the floor.

Cloud County won a wild 65-61 decision at Dodge City. The Thunderbirds overcame 39.7 percent shooting and 16 turnovers to rally in the second half for a victory. Ramion Burt Jr. had 13 points and Breyon Jackson had 12 to lead the Thunderbirds.

In the November 15 meeting between Hutchinson and Cloud County, Rhymes scored a game-high 33 points; Rob Whitfield added 15 and Rojas 13 as Hutch shot a season-low 33.3 percent from the floor. Soloman Finley hurt the Dragons with 18 points on 4 of 5 3-point shooting with five assists and two steals. Burt had 16 points and Alvin Thomson added 15.

A big different was turnovers, the Blue Dragons had 24 and the Thunderbirds had 16.

Cloud County, whose first year head coach, Jordan Altman is the son of former Kansas State and current Oregon head coach Dana Altman, averages 74.9 points per game offensively, shooting 40.5 percent overall, 30.5 percent from 3-point range and 68.5 percent from the foul line. Defensively, Cloud is allowing 76.9 points, 39.7 percent overall shooting and a league-best 29.0 percent from 3-point range.

Burt is Cloud County's leading scorer at 13.9 points per game and the Jayhawk Conference's leading rebounder at 10.8 boards per game. Thompson averages 12.5 points per game.

Hutchinson is averaging 87.0 points offensively and 69.1 points defensively. The Dragons are shooting 47.4 percent overall, 37.8 percent from 3-point range and 67.5 percent from the free-throw line. Opposing teams are shooting 37.8 percent overall and 29.1 percent from 3-point range.

Rhymes continues to lead the conference in scoring at 19.6 points per game. Whitfield is second in 3-point shooting at 48.3 percent. Rheaquone Taylor is second in field-goal percentage (57.6 percent). Sal Nuhu is fourth in the league in blocked shots at 1.7 per game.