J.J. Rhymes scored 28 points and reached the 1,000 career-point mark in the No. 12 Blue Dragons' 104-84 victory over Pratt on Wednesday at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
J.J. Rhymes scored 28 points and reached the 1,000 career-point mark in the No. 12 Blue Dragons' 104-84 victory over Pratt on Wednesday at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

Sophomore J.J. Rhymes broke the 1,000 career-point plateau and helped the No. 12 Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team earn its 17th victory of the season on Wednesday night.

Rhymes scored a game-high 28 points to lead four players in double figures as the Blue Dragons led Pratt for more than 36 minutes, but never felt comfortable in a 104-84 Jayhawk Conference victory at the Sports Arena.

The Blue Dragons improve to 17-3 and remain one game behind first-place Barton. Hutchinson is 13-3 in the Jayhawk Conference. Pratt falls to 8-12 and 5-11. This was Hutch's seventh-consecutive victory over Pratt.

With his 19th point of the game, which came midway through the second half, Rhymes became the 17th Blue Dragon in program history to score at least 1,000 points. Now with 1,009 career points, Rhymes moved past Cortez Barnes into 17th on the Dragon career scoring list.

Rhymes, who was 10 of 22 shooting overall and 8 of 9 from the foul line, had had six assists and two steals to lead the Blue Dragons for his 11th 20-point game of the season.

With sophomore Devonte Bandoo unavailable on Wednesday, the Blue Dragons got some key scoring from some unlikely sources.

Freshman Curtis Hollis scored a career-high 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers. Hollis also finished with five rebounds and four assists.

Sophomore Tiylar Cotton, who was making his second career start, posted his first career double-double with 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Cotton also had a career-high six assists.

Freshman Rheaquone Taylor was 7 of 7 shooting for 14 points and eight rebounds.

Hutchinson shot 53.4 percent for the game (39 of 73), going 7 of 22 from 3-point range and 19 of 20 from the free-throw line.

The Blue Dragons out-rebounded Pratt 48-29. Hutch had 28 team assists on 39 makes – Rob Whitfield dished out a career-high eight assists. He also had a career-best six steals.

Pratt's James Brooks nailed 7 of 10 from 3-point range to finish with a team-high 27. Asem Johnson had 21 points.

The Beavers shot 41.9 percent (31 of 74), including 9 of 33 from 3-point range and 13 of 16 from the foul line.

Trailing 9-8 with 16:05 remaining in the first half, Hollis scored in transition to give Hutch a lead it never relinquished from that point. Hollis started a 6-0 run and finished it with two free throws for a 14-9 lead with 13:34 remaining in the half.

Leading 14-11, the Dragons scored nine unanswered points to take a 23-11 lead on a Taylor tip-in with 9:54 remaining. From that point, the high-scoring Beavers made several runs at the Dragons, closing to within 25-18 with 6:17 left and 32-28 after a Brooks' 3-pointer with 4:07 to go in the half.

Hutch had a key 10-2 run as Cotton hit a 3-pointer and four-straight free throws to regain a 42-30 lead with 2:42 remaining in the half. Shooting 16 of 35 in the half and hitting five 3-pointers, the Blue Dragons led 44-34 at halftime.

The second half played out much the same way in which Hutch would pull away only to see Pratt score quickly to stay within striking distance. The lead never fell below double figures but was cut to 10 at 51-41 on a Brooks 3-pointer with 17:37 to go.

The Dragons finally got the lead past 15 points after a Hollis 3-pointer made it 61-45 with 14:37 to play. That 16-point lead was the smallest for Hutch over the remainder of the game.

Hutchinson used a 22-8 run to finally put Pratt away. A Hollis dunk gave the Dragons their first 20-point lead at 73-53 with 10:42 left. Sal Nuhu's dunk with 8:55 to go capped the run and gave the Blue Dragons an 83-55 lead.

The Blue Dragons outscored Pratt 60-50 in the second half shooting 60.5 percent (23 of 38).

Hutchinson travels to Coffeyville for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday at Nellis Hall.

GAME NOTES – Blue Dragon head coach Steve Eck won his 248th game on the Blue Dragon bench and 898th in his 39-year career. … The Blue Dragons are 143-24 all-time against Pratt, including 66-11 in Hutchinson. … J.J. Rhymes moved past John Ontjes into eighth place on the career free throws list with 278. … The Dragons are 10-1 at home this season. … Hutch is 9-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better. … The 60 points in the second half marked the third time in four halves against Pratt to score at least 60 in a half. … The 50 points allowed in the second half tied an opponent high for points in a half against the Dragons. … This was Hutch's fifth 100-point game of the season.