Devonte Bandoo dunks for two of his team-high 20 points in No. 14 Hutchinson's 93-84 victory over Cowley on Saturday at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Devonte Bandoo dunks for two of his team-high 20 points in No. 14 Hutchinson's 93-84 victory over Cowley on Saturday at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

Hutchinson Community College sophomore guards Devonte Bandoo and J.J. Rhymes scored 20 points each to lead the No. 14 Blue Dragons to their sixth consecutive victory on the seventh-annual Pink-Out night at the Sports Arena.

The Blue Dragons maintained their share of the Jayhawk Conference lead and gained some revenge from a January loss to Cowley College, defeating the Tigers 93-84 on Saturday night.

The Blue Dragons improve to 23-4 overall and 19-4 in the Jayhawk Conference. Barton and Coffeyville also won on Saturday night, so the Blue Dragons, Cougars and Red Ravens maintain their three-way tie for first place in the KJCCC with three games to play. Cowley drops to 17-10 overall and 14-9 in conference play.

Rhymes scored 20 points on 7 of 11 shooting with a 3-pointer and 5 of 5 from the free-throw line. Rhymes moved past Joe Mitchell (2009-11) into 10th place on the Blue Dragon career scoring list with 1,133 points. Rhymes added a game-high six assists.

Bandoo also had 20 points for the Blue Dragons on 6 of 7 shooting with a 3-pointer and 7 of 9 from the foul line. Bandoo climbed in the Blue Dragon career Top 25 in scoring and is now 23rd with 907 points.

The sophomore duo's performance keyed Hutch's 11th game this season shooting 50 percent or better. The Dragons shot 53.4 percent for the game (31 of 58).

The 40 combined points by Bandoo and Rhymes offset the 31-point effort of Cowley's Jeremiah Starks, who knocked down 8 of 17 from the 3-point line

Both teams had 31 total field goals. Cowley outscored the Blue Dragons 42-9 from 3-point range, but the Blue Dragons outscored the Tigers 28-8 at the free-throw line.

Sophomore Kai Mitchell posted his first double-double of the season and second of his career with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Mitchell added five assists and tied a career high with four blocked shots. Rob Whitfield added nine points and six rebounds. Curtis Hollis and Sal Nuhu had eight points each and Rheaquone Taylor added seven.

The Blue Dragons had a 51-36 rebounding advantage and had to overcome a season-high 24 turnovers.

Cedric Rembert had 13 points, while Aaron McGee and Marquan Shakur had 11 points each for the Tigers.

The Blue Dragons trailed 41-40 at halftime, marking the eighth time this season that Hutchinson has been behind at halftime.

Trailing by one point 2 minutes into the second half, the Blue Dragons got a spark from Mitchell, who hit a jumper to give Hutch a 46-45 lead. Mitchell then blocked shot off a Cowley layup attempt and Whitfield answered on the either end with a 3-pointer for a 49-45 lead with 17:15 to play in the second half.

Then leading 49-47, the Blue Dragons broke the game open with an 11-0 run over a stretch of 3 minutes, 20 seconds to lead 60-47 after a Bandoo three-point play with 12:34 remaining.

Hutchinson build a 71-55 lead with 8:48 left only to see the Tigers hit back-to-back 3s to pull within 10 at the 7:50 mark. A Rhymes' jumper stopped that run. Then leading 75-64 with 5:39 to go, the Dragons scored eight unanswered in a 10-1 run that pushed the Hutch lead to 85-65 after two Curtis Hollis free throws with 3:54 to go.

Cowley again made a run and pulled within 87-79 with 57 seconds left, but the Dragons hit 6 of 8 free throws in the final minute to finish off the victory.

The Dragons trailed in the first half 20-16 and went on a 13-6 run to lead 29-22 after a Whitfield layup that was preceded by a Bandoo steal with 6:48 to play in the first half. Cowley finished off the half on a 19-11 run, but the Blue Dragons got some needed momentum with a Rhymes jumper in the final seconds of the half that cut the Cowley lead to 41-40.

The Blue Dragons will be at Allen for an 8 p.m. game on Wednesday in Iola.

GAME NOTES –There were 15 lead changes and five ties in Saturday's game. … The Blue Dragons are now 85-41 all-time against Cowley, 38-13 in games played in Hutchinson. … The Blue Dragons are 6-2 this season when trailing at halftime. … Hutch is 11-0 when shooting 50 percent or better. … With the inclusion of J.J. Rhymes into the Blue Dragon Top 10 career scorers, head coach Steve Eck had coached four players in the Top 10 and 5 of the Top 11 – 3. Kadeem Allen, 6. Bashir Ahmed, 9. Samajae Haynes-Jones, 10 J.J. Rhymes, 11. Joe Mitchell.