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March 6, 2013SPENCER, DAVIS POWER BLUE DRAGON SECOND-HALF SURGE PAST CLOUD COUNTY
The sophomore tandem of A.J. Spencer and Alex Davis played major roles in a key game-changing stretch of the second half to help advance the No. 9-ranked Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team into the semifinals of the 2013 Region VI Tournament.
Spencer and Davis combined for 33 points, 29 coming in the final 12:37 of the game, to lead the Blue Dragons to an 82-64 quarterfinal victory over Cloud County on Tuesday night at the Sports Arena.
The Blue Dragons (29-3) advance to play Coffeyville in the second Region VI semifinal at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Hartman Arena in Park City. This will be the third semifinal meeting in the last four years between the Blue Dragons and the No. 2 Red Ravens.
Spencer hit a career-high 4 of 4 3-point goals and scored 20 second-half points, all in the final 12 minutes, 16 seconds of the game. Spencer hit his final seven shots attempts of the game. Davis added 13 seconds half points along with strong post defense and a record-breaking blocked shot during a key sequence that finally turned the game completely in HCC's favor.
Leading by a shaky nine points with less than 7 minutes remaining, Spencer hit his fourth 3-pointer of the half with 7:08 to play to push the lead to 12. Then Davis broke Aaron Pettway's career blocked shot record with his 152nd rejection and turned that into instant offense with a thunderous transition dunk to put Hutchinson up 70-56 with 4:38 remaining.
That sequence and a full-court press used in the second half helped HCC go on a 20-4 run. Spencer's final of seven-straight makes gave HCC an 82-59 lead with 1:34 to play.
Hutchinson outscored Cloud County 50-35 in the second half by shooting 18 of 31 (58.1 percent) 7 of 10 from 3-point range. A minus-7 in rebounding margin in the first half, Hutchinson out-rebounded Cloud County 23-11 in the second half with eight offensive rebounds.
Spencer finished with a game-high 25 points on 10 of 12 shooting. He added five rebounds and three assists.
Davis had his third-straight tremendous game with 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.
Freshman Kadeem Allen had 15 points and six assists. Sophomore D'Von Campbell hit a pair of 3-pointers for 12 points.
The Blue Dragons hit a season-high-tying eight 3-point goals on 15 attempts. HCC was 31 of 60 shooting (51.7 percent), hitting 12 of 17 from the foul line. HCC out-rebounded Cloud County 34-29. The Dragons committed 15 turnovers.
Edward Dyson's 17 points led Cloud County (15-17). Dyson also had five rebounds and five assists. Gerrae Williams had 16 points on 7 of 10 shooting. Alioune Mboup had 11 points.
The Thunderbirds shot 26 of 59 (44.1 percent), including 5 of 16 from 3-point range and 7 of 8 from the foul line. Cloud County had 20 turnovers.
The Blue Dragons had to endure another slow start, this time falling behind 10-2 with 16:25 remaining in the opening half. Rozell Nunn's three-point play with 15:30 to play jump-started the HCC offense and it didn't take long to get back into the game. Trailing 12-7, HCC went on a 9-0 run, tying the game on an Allen 3-pointer and taking its first lead at 14-12 on a Spencer layup with 11:59 to play in the first half.
The teams then went on a long stretch of trading baskets with seven lead changes over the next 6 minutes. Cloud County led 23-21 when a six-point run gave HCC a 27-23 lead on a Davis basket with 3:29 to play. Allen sank 3 of 4 free throws in the final 1:20 of the half to help Hutchinson carry a 32-29 lead into the locker room.
Williams hit a 3-pointer with 17:58 to play in the second half to help Cloud County tie the game ta 34-34. Allen trumped that Cloud trey with a 3-pointer of his own which sparked a 7-0 HCC run which gave the Blue Dragons a 41-34 lead after a Campbell basket with 15:34 to play.
Leading 50-41, Spencer finally started bombing away with back-to-back 3-pointers to up the Dragon margin to 15 points with 11:20 to play. Cloud's Connor McDaniel matched Spencer with consecutive treys to pull the Thunderbirds within 58-50 with 8:24 remaining and forced HCC to use a time out.
Leading 62-54, Spencer again dialed up a pair of 3-pointers for a 12-point lead. Then Davis had his record-setting blocked shot and transition dunk to start a 20-4 run that broke the game open for the Blue Dragons. Cloud County went 5 minutes, 27 seconds of that run with only one field goal scored.
GAME NOTES - HCC is now 118-43 all-time in the Region VI Tournament. The Blue Dragons are 41-10 in the quarterfinal round. HCC is 5-1 vs. Cloud County in Region VI competition, meeting the Thunderbirds for the first time in the postseason since the 1987 Region VI semifinals. HCC head coach Steve Eck is now 7-3 in Region VI play at Hutchinson. The Blue Dragons earned all-time victory No. 1,626. Alex Davis joined the Blue Dragon Career Top 25 scoring list on Tuesday night. Davis moved into 22nd place with 777 points, moving past Charles Terry (1972-74), David Lange (1981-83) and Ben Davis (1994). HC is 15-0 when shooting 50 percent or better. HCC is 17-1 when scoring 80-plus points and is 19-0 when dishing out 17 or more assists in a game.
Fri. Mar. 8 - Region VI Men's Semifinals
at Hartman Arena - Park City , KS
5:30 Seward County (25-7) vs (27-5) #24 Barton
7:30 #9 Hutchinson (29-3) vs (31-1) #2 Coffeyville
Tue. Mar. 5 Region VI D-I Men's Games
Seward Co (24-7) def (17-14) Independence 84-66
#24 Barton (26-5) def (21-10) Cowley 75-68
#9 Hutchinson (28-3) def (15-16) Cloud Co 82-64
#2 Coffeyville (30-1) def (24-7) Butler 81-70
Wed. Mar. 6
7:00 Hesston (21-10) at (15-15) Kansas City KS
Tue. Mar. 5 Region VI D-II Men's Games
#5 Brown Mackie(24-5)def(14-17) Fort Scott 87-77