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March 9, 2013BLUE DRAGONS ROLL BY COFFEYVILLE, ADVANCE TO FIRST FINAL SINCE 1997
PARK CITY - Kadeem Allen's layup off the opening tip just 4 seconds in was only a sign of things to come for the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team on Friday night in the Region VI Tournament semifinals at Hartman Arena.
When the lead reached 30 points in the second half, the postseason stigmas of both playing Coffeyville in the postseason and the Region VI Tournament semifinals were indeed about to be conquered.
Overall third-seed and No. 9 nationally ranked Hutchinson shot a season-high 62.5 percent to cruise to an 85-62 victor over the No. 2-ranked Red Ravens on Friday night. Hutchinson never trailed in the game.
The Blue Dragons advance to their first Region VI Tournament championship game since 1997, the last time Hutchinson won the regional tournament. HCC snaps a six-game semifinal losing streak and defeated Coffeyville for the first time in four postseason meetings, the last two coming in the semifinal round.
Hutchinson (30-3) will now meet archrival and 24th-ranked Barton for the right to represent Region VI at the NJCAA Tournament at the Sports Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hartman Arena.
The Blue Dragons had their best overall and most consistent offensive game of the season against Coffeyville (31-2), which had its 25-game winning streak snapped. HCC shot 58.6 percent in the first half to open an early 20-5 each and eventually a 39-30 halftime advantage.
Alex Davis scored six early inside points and Allen and Rozell Nunn added layups as HCC had a great start to the second half as well to maintain a double-figure margin.
Leading 65-46, the Blue Dragons went on an 11-0 run that sealed any hopes of Coffeyville - a team that came into the game with 236 made 3-pointers - coming back to take victory away from Hutchinson. Jack Pyle hit back-to-back jumpers at the end of the run to give Hutchinson a 76-46 lead with 6:16 to play in the game.
HCC shot a season-high single-half percentage of 66.7 percent in the second half (18 of 27) to outscore Coffeyville 46-32.
Five Blue Dragons scored in double figures and seven had a minimum of eight points to lead HCC, which shot 35 of 56 for the game. HCC was 5 of 12 from 3-point range and 10 of 16 from the foul line.
Davis finished with 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting with five rebounds and two steals. Nunn finished with 14 points, six assists and five rebounds. D'Von Campbell handled the Coffeyville pressure well all game long and finished with 12 points, three steals, three assists and no turnovers.
Allen had 11 points, five rebounds and a career-high nine assists. Pyle came off the bench to score a season-high 10 points. A.J. Spencer finished with nine and Tafari Whittingham had eight points and four rebounds.
The Blue Dragons out-rebounded Coffeyville 36-33. HCC had 24 assists and 15 turnovers.
The Ravens were led by Earl Peterson's 20 points on 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Montel James had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Coffeyville finished 20 of 59 shooting (33.9 percent), going 6 of 17 from 3-point range and 16 of 26 from the foul line. The Ravens had 13 turnovers.
GAME NOTES - HCC is now 9-4 vs. Coffeyville in Region VI competition and 119-43 all-time in the Region VI Tournament. This was all-time victory No. 1,627. Hutchinson reached 30 wins for the sixth time in team history and the first time since 2004. Coach Steve Eck is 9-4 vs. nationally ranked opponents. HCC is now 24-15 all-time vs. Coffeyville, snapping a three-game losing streak and a stretch of 8 losses in 9 games to Coffeyville. The 2013 Blue Dragons are now eighth in total free throws in team history with 623. Kadeem Allen jumped past Brandon Gary and Joe Mitchell into seventh place on the HCC freshman scoring list with 539 points. He is now ninth in freshman assists with 125. HCC is 16-0 when shooting 50 percent or better. HCC is 25-0 when out-shooting an opponent. This was the 14th time this season HCC had held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting. The 35 field goals were fourth most this season and the 24 assists were fourth most this season. HCC had had nine games of 20 or more assists. Rozell Nunn had his first game scoring in double figures in the last seven. He is averaging 6.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists in three postseason games.