Hutchinson CC Sports Information
Sophomore J.J. Rhymes reached the 30-point plateau for the fifth time in his career to help the No. 13-ranked Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team avenge a November overtime loss to Cloud County.
Rhymes scored 38 points to power the Blue Dragons to a 95-63 victory over Cloud County on Saturday at the Sports Arena.
Defeating Cloud County for the 11th consecutive time at the Sports Arena, Hutchinson improves to 16-3 overall and 12-3 in the Jayhawk Conference. The Blue Dragons still trail first-place Barton by one game in the conference standings. Cloud County, which defeated Hutchinson 82-79 in overtime on November 15 in Concordia, falls to 6-12 overall and 4-11 in the league.
Rhymes got off to a great start scoring 16 of Hutchinson's first 21 points. He finished 13 of 23 shooting, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range and 10 of 10 from the free-throw line. Rhymes added seven rebounds.
Rhymes' 38 points tied for the eighth-most points scored by a Blue Dragon in a game, matching Roy "Pooh" Hairston (1993) and Nate Brumfield (2006). Rhymes moved past by Akbar Hoffman and Josh Gonner into 18th place on the Blue Dragon career scoring list with 981 points.
The Blue Dragons shot 56 percent to open a 42-27 lead by halftime. For the game, Hutchinson shot 33 of 63 (52.4 percent), hitting 4 of 10 from 3-point range and 25 of 34 from the free-throw line.
The Blue Dragons had their second-largest rebound margin, out-rebounding Cloud County 57-32. The Dragons had 21 assists, but 21 turnovers.
Bandoo had 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
Sophomore Sal Nuhu posted his first double-double of the season and second of his career with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Curtis Hollis and Rheaquone Taylor had eight points each and James Rojas added seven points.
The Blue Dragons held Cloud County to 32.5 percent shooting (26 of 80), including 4 of 24 from 3-point range and 7 of 13 from the foul line. The Thunderbirds had 14 turnovers and an opponent season high 10 blocked shots.
JaVary Christmas had 15 points to lead the Thunderbirds. Alvin Thompson had 12 points and Ramion Burt Jr. finished with 10 points.
The Blue Dragons led wire to score, scoring the first seven points of the game. When Rhymes converted a three-point play with 12:24 to go in the half to reach the 16-point mark for the game, the Dragons led 21-9. Cloud County pulled back within six at 22-16 with 9:21 remaining in the half, but Hutchinson answered the challenge with an 11-2 run after Rob Whitfield's 3-pointer gave the Dragons a 33-18 lead with 6:23 to play in the half.
The Dragons pushed the lead to 19 late in the half on back-to-back dunks from Hollis and Bandoo. Cloud County scored the final four points of the half and Hutch led 42-27 at halftime.
Cloud County started the second half on a 10-4 run to pull within 46-37 after a Thompson basket with 16:50 to play in the game. The Dragons retaliated with a 9-2 run to push the lead back to 16 when Kai Mitchell's jumper gave the Dragons a 55-39 lead with 14:10 remaining.
Hutch's lead hovered between 14 and 18 points for the next four minutes. Leading 65-51, the Blue Dragons pulled away with 10-straight points and an overall 20-6 run. Rhymes' putback dunk capped the run and gave the Blue Dragons an 85-57 lead with 4:16 to play in the game.
The Blue Dragons close out their four-game homestand on Wednesday against Pratt.
GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 51-18 all-time against Cloud County, including 29-2 at the Sports Arena. … Curtis Hollis tied a season high with five assists. … Sal Nuhu tied a career high with six free throws. … With four assists on Saturday, Kai Mitchell has 20 assists in his last five games. … This was the eighth time this season that Hutchinson has shot better than 50 percent in a game. … The four 3-pointers by Cloud County tied an opponent low for the Dragons this season.