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January 22, 2013NO. 1-RANKED BLUE DRAGONS LOOK TO CONTINUE ROLL AS PRATT COMES TO ARENA
Ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA, the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team goes after its 20th-consecutive victory to start the season when the Blue Dragons play host to the Pratt Beavers on Wednesday at the Sports Arena.
Tipoff for Hutchinson's sixth Jayhawk Conference Western Division matchup of the season will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Sports Arena, where the Blue Dragons are 15-0 this season.
The game will be broadcast live on Blue Dragon flagship station KWBW-FM (102.9) and on sister station KWBW-AM (1450) beginning at 7:20 p.m. The Blue Dragon Sports Network will provide a live videostream and audio-only stream beginning at 7:20 p.m.
Freshman Tafari Whittingham had 17 points and sophomore Rozell Nunn posted his first career double-double on Sunday as Hutchinson won its 19th-striaght game with a 79-61 road win at Colby.
On Wednesday, the Blue Dragons look to tie the 1993-94 national champion Blue Dragons, who reeled off 20-consecutive victories, for the fourth-longest winning streak in team history.
The Blue Dragons take on a Pratt team that is second in the Jayhawk West in scoring defense at 63.6 points per game. Offensively, though, the Beavers are last in the league at 65.2 points per contest.
The Beavers (12-7, 2-3) come in smarting a bit after seeing a second-half lead against Butler slip away before falling to the Grizzlies 64-58 in overtime. The Beavers have been in several close games this season with 12 games decided by nine points or less.
The Hutchinson-Pratt series goes back to 1939. The Blue Dragons own more victories - 131 against Pratt - than any other opponent in HCC men's basketball history.
Blue Dragons No. 2 in NJCAA in all-time wins
With their 76-64 victory over Mesa Community College on Nov. 3, the Blue Dragons reached 1,600 wins in their illustrious history.
The Blue Dragons are 1,616-556, a winning percentage of .744 in their 81st season of men's basketball.
The Blue Dragons trail only Southeastern Iowa in all-time wins. Southeastern Iowa.
HCC played its 2,100th game on Dec. 4, 2010 vs. Harcum College.
With their 76-69 victory over Seward County on Jan. 3, 2010, the Blue Dragons moved past Moberly Area Community College for second place on the NJCAA all-time wins list.
With a 79-53 victory over Labette on Nov. 1, 2008, the Blue Dragons became only the third NJCAA program to post 1,500 victories. Win No. 1,400 came on Feb. 9, 2004 at Butler.
Blue Dragons in national poll
For the second time in three seasons, the Blue Dragons have reached the No. 1 spot in the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Poll.
HCC moved into the top spot this week after former No. 1 Chipola lost last Wednesday.
Before this week, the last time HCC was ranked No. 1 was in 2010-11. That team held the top spot for two weeks.
Before that, the last time that Hutchinson was ranked No. 1 in a regular season poll was on Jan. 7, 1992. The Blue Dragons - the starting point guard on that team was current HCC women's coach John Ontjes - started that season 15-0 and spent one week in the nation's top spot before getting bumped off. That team finished 22-7 and was Region VI runner-up.
The latest No. 1 national ranking is only the fourth since 1975 for the Blue Dragon men. The 1974-75 Blue Dragons, coached by Dick Gisel, started their season 24-0. That Blue Dragon team finished 32-3, won the Jayhawk West and Region VI crowns and finished eighth in the 1975 NJCAA Tournament.
HCC has now been ranked in 10 consecutive NJCAA polls, dating back to last season.
Eck first ever in NJCAA to take 4 teams to No. 1
When the 2010-11 Blue Dragons earned their first No. 1 ranking on Jan. 4, 2011, HCC became the fourth team that Hutchinson head coach Steve Eck had led to a No. 1 national ranking.
Now, Eck has taken HCC to No. 1 for the second time, doing so this week.
Eck has also coached at Butler County, Redlands Community College and Cowley College. In each of those stops, Eck has taken a team to the top rung on the rankings ladder. He is the only coach in NJCAA history to coach four No. 1 teams at four different schools.
Eck has coached both Butler and Cowley to Region VI championship games. He has also guided Redlands to a Division II national championship and to a Division I national runner-up finish.
Start ties for third best in Blue Dragon history
Fast starts under the Steve Eck watch have been nothing new in his four seasons with the Blue Dragons.
This season's 19-0 start is the third best in team history, surpassing the 2010-11 Blue Dragons. Both teams reached No. 1 in the NJCAA Rankings.
In Eck's four seasons at Hutchinson, the Blue Dragons have gone 12-2, 14-0, 13-1 and 14-0 in non-conference play.
The best start to a season came in 1974-75, a 24-0 start to a season.
Current winning streak is sixth longest in history
Hutchinson's current 19-game winning streak is tied for the fifth-longest in the program's 83-year history.
The current win streak ties the 1972-73 Blue Dragons at No. 5. The 2012-13 Blue Dragons now try to match the 1993-94 national champion Blue Dragons for the fourth-longest winning streak in team history.
The Blue Dragons have had 33 winning streaks of 10 or more games in program history and four of 20 or more.
The longest win streak in HCC history is 24 games, which was done twice in 1967-68 (coached by Gene Keady) and 1974-75 (coached by Dick Gisel).
About the 2012-13 Blue Dragons
+ The Blue Dragons average 83.4 points per game offensively. HCC is shooting 49.1 percent overall and has shot 50 percent or better nine times this season. The Dragons are shooting 31.5 percent from 3-point range and is 66.4 percent from the foul line. The Blue Dragons lead the Jayhawk West in free-throw shooting and are second in scoring offense and field-goal percentage.
+ Defensively, the Blue Dragons rank eighth in scoring defense at 68.5 points per game. Opponents are shooting 39.0 percent overall and 27.8 percent from 3-point range. The Dragons lead the Jayhawk West in 3-point defense at 27.8 percent and are fourth in field-goal defense.
+ Through five games of Jayhawk West play, HCC is averaging 78.6 points, shooting 49.3 percent overall, but are just 23.1 percent from long range. HCC has nine 3-point goals in five conference games. Defensively, HCC is allowing 69.6 points, 38.5 percent field-goal shooting and 25.7 percent from 3-point range.
+ Freshman guard Kadeem Allen, a three-time Jayhawk Conference men's basketball player of the week, is fourth in the Jayhawk West in scoring at 16.6 points per game. He has scored in double figures in 16 of 17 games played this season, averaging 19.0 points per game in five Jayhawk West games. Allen is shooting 44.0 percent, 31.9 percent from 3-point range and 68.8 percent from the foul line. Allen also has team highs of 64 assists and 44 steals, coming off a career-high six against Colby on Sunday.
+ Sophomore guard A.J. Spencer is second in scoring at 14.2 points per game, which is ninth in the Jayhawk West. Spencer ranks second in field-goal percentage at 59.2 percent, while leading the West at the free-throw line (82.1 percent). Spencer is averaging 14.6 points in conference play, shooting 60.4 percent. The sophomore is averaging 6.0 rebounds per game, 5.4 boards in league play.
+ Sophomore forward Alex Davis has three double-doubles this season and averages 13.8 points per game with a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game. Davis is 12th in the Jayhawk West in scoring and fifth in rebounding. Davis is shooting 49.7 percent from the field and 63.6 percent from the foul line. He has gone to the line 129 times this season, most in the league. Coming off a three-block game on Sunday against Colby, Davis takes over the Jayhawk West lead in blocks at 2.58 rejections per game.
+ HCC will be without the services of sophomore point guard D'Von Campbell, a UTEP transfer, for an undetermined amount of time because of injury. He has missed four games so far. Campbell averaged 11.4 point and 3.9 assists, which is eighth in the Jayhawk West. He was shooting 40.0 percent from 3-point range with 16 3-pointers.
+ The Blue Dragon bench is averaging 19.7 points for the season, but that number has dropped to 10.6 points in conference play. In the non-conference season, freshman Tafari Whittingham was a main contributor off the bench, but has started the last four games for Campbell. Whittingham averaging 9.6 points, shooting 52.9 percent. Sophomore Dre Henley is currently the leading scorer off the bench. He is averaging 6.1 points, shooting 56.5 percent from the floor, which ranks ninth in the Jayhawk West.
+ The Blue Dragons have out-rebounded only 9 of 19 opponents this season. HCC is virtually even in rebounding advantage, pulling down 40.3 boards per game. The Blue Dragons are averaging 13.5 offensive rebounds per game. HCC is a minus-4.4 rebounding in conference play, pulling down 38.4 rebounds, while allowing 43.2 boards, including 17.8 offensive rebounds. Colby had 24 offensive rebounds on Sunday.
+ The Blue Dragons average 18.4 assists per game and 9.8 steals.
+ Hutchinson averages 15.5 turnovers and forcing opponents into 19.8 turnovers per game. The Blue Dragons had a season-low eight turnovers last week vs. Barton.
+ HCC is 15-0 at the Sports Arena this season, averaging 83.5 points per game.
+ HCC is 4-0 on the road this season, averaging 83.3 points per game.
+ Second-year head coach Jesse Shaw has the Beavers playing good defense this season. Pratt currently ranks No. 2 in the Jayhawk West in scoring defense at 63.6 points per game. Pratt is allowing opposing teams to shoot 41.2 percent overall and 32.6 percent from 3-point range.
+ The Beavers have ridden a roller coaster this season with a pair of three-game winning streaks and two two-game losing streaks. Pratt had a second-half lead on Saturday at home against Butler, but dropped a 63-58 overtime decision.
+ Close games are nothing new to Pratt. The Beavers have had 12 games decided by nine points or less. The Beavers are 8-4 in those games, including 2-1 in overtime games. Pratt has played two-straight overtime contests with Garden City and Butler entering play Wednesday.
+ Offensively, the Beavers like to control pace. They average a league-low 65.2 points per game, while shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 30.4 percent from 3-point range (91 makes) and 65.7 percent from the foul line.
+ Aaron Abram is Pratt's leading scorer at 13.8 points per game. He is shooting 50 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from the 3-point line. He is second on the team with 19 makes. Abram is Pratt's top rebounder at 7.7 rebounds per game.
+ Javis Flynn and Randall Rogers both averages 7.8 points per game. Flynn has a team-high 94 assists.
+ Six different Pratt players average at least six points per game. Kazmere Boyd is at 7.8 ppg, Sean Michaelson is at 7.3 ppg, Ralph Abraham s at 6.8 points and Lucas Stivrins is at 6.6 points per game.
+ Michaelson is Pratt's top 3-point shooter at 32.9 percent with 24 makes.
+ Stivrins comes from a strong athetic family. His father, Alex, played at the University of Colorado and later transferred to Creighton University. Alex Stivrins also spent several seasons in theNBA.
+ Pratt is averaging 33.7 rebounds per game, allowing 32.9 boards.
+ The Beavers average 15.2 turnovers and 14.9 takesaways per game.
+ The Beavers average 11.3 assists, 7.5 steals and 2.1 blocked shots per game.
+ Pratt is 4-3 away from Pratt adn 3-1 in neutral-court games. The Beavers are 5-2 at home.
Series history against Pratt
This will be the 155th meeting between Hutchinson and Pratt in a series that began in 1939.
The Blue Dragons own a decisive 131-23 all-time record against the Beavers. The Blue Dragons have won six in a row and 9 of the last 10 against the Beavers.
The Blue Dragons are 62-11 all-time against Pratt in games played in Hutchinson and 53-7 at the Sports Arena. HCC owns a 57-11 record at Pratt. Hutchinson and Pratt have met 11 times in the postseason. HCC has won 10 of the 11. The last Region VI meeting was 1994. Pratt's only postseason win over Hutchinson came in 1959.