BLUE DRAGON MEN'S BASKETBALL
Hutchinson (23-7) vs. Allen (16-14)
Hutchinson CC Sports Information
Just when it seemed like the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team finally had hits its stride, another road block popped up.
Coming off Sunday's 19-point loss at Seward County, which snapped a four-game winning streak, the Blue Dragons open the postseason on Wednesday at the Sports Arena. The third-seeded Blue Dragons will play the 14th-seeded Allen Red Devils in the opening round of the Region VI Men's Tournament at 7:30 p.m.
The game will be broadcast live on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and on sister stations KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5) at 7:20 p.m. with Glen Grunwald (play-by-play) and Denny Stoecklein (analysis) calling the action. The game will also be streamed live on the Blue Dragon Sports Network at 7:20 p.m.
The Blue Dragons opened the season with nine-straight wins. Since then, it's been two steps forward and one step back as Hutchinson, who is still receiving votes in the NJCAA Rankings, will likely need to win the Region VI Tournament to advance to the NJCAA Tournament for a fifth-straight season and 23rd time overall.
After Hutchinson had dropped 3 of 4, the Dragons then reeled off four big wins, including an 82-65 win over No. 19 Barton last week. But the Blue Dragons allowed 52.9 percent shooting and turned the ball over 17 times as Jayhawk West champion Seward County got out to an 18-2 lead and was never threatened after that.
The Blue Dragons qualify for the postseason for the 68th time in program history. The Dragons have an all-time Region VI Tournament record of 134-47, including a 39-8 record in opening-round games.
Hutchinson bids for its 200th all-time postseason win on Wednesday. Hutch's all-time postseason record of 199-79.
Wednesday will be the seventh all-time postseason meeting between Hutchinson and Allen. The Dragons own a 5-1 all-time postseason lead over the Red Devils, but the one loss game on the Sports Arena floor. Allen upset the Blue Dragons 60-56 in the opening round at the Sports Arena on March 8, 2006. The last postseason meeting between Hutch and Allen was on March 6, 2012, a 76-64 Blue Dragon victory.
Hutchinson defeated Allen 102-86 in the only meeting of 2019 on January 5 in Iola. Malique Jacobs came off the bench to lead six Blue Dragons in double figures with 23 points. James Rojas has 21 points and eight rebounds. The Blue Dragons shot 60 percent, including 65.6 percent in the second half. Allen, which nailed 10 of 30 from long range, was led by Malik Harden's 21 points.
After struggling through the second half of the Jayhawk East season, the Red Devils enter the postseason winning three games in a row, defeating the Oklahoma Wesleyan JV, Independence in overtime and closing the season with a 97-86 victory over Neosho County in Iola on Saturday.
Allen's offense is ranked seventh in the KJCCC at 80.3 points per game, but the Red Devils have posted three-straight games of 96 or more points. The Red Devils average the fourth-most made 3-pointers per game at 7.4 and are sixth in the league at 32.4 percent from distance.
Hutchinson's James Rojas finished the regular season as the third-leading scorer in the Jayhawk Conference at 17.7 points per game. He has 826 career points, which is 26th on the Blue Dragon all-time scoring list.