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January 17, 2014

Blue Dragons - Saints game huge.

GAME 19 - No. 12 Hutchinson (16-2, 2-0) at Seward County (12-6, 2-0)

Date: Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tipoff: 8 p.m.

Site: Green House Liberal, KS (Capacity: 3,000)

Radio: KHUT-FM (102.9); KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5) - Glen Grunwald (PBP); Darren Dunn (Analysis), 7:50 p.m.

Internet Video, Live Stats: www.bluedragonsports.com, 7:50 p.m.

Twitter: @bluedragonsport



BLUE DRAGONS, SAINTS MEET IN ANOTHER HUGE JAYHAWK WEST MEN'S BATTLE



Meaningful games when the Hutchinson Community College and Seward County men's basketball teams get together have become commonplace.

In each of the past three seasons, every time HCC and Seward County locked up, there has been major significance in the Jayhawk West standings. The last time the two teams played, it was for all the marbles in the Jayhawk West last season.

Tied atop the Jayhawk West standings, the No. 12 Blue Dragons and Saints meet once again with plenty at stake on Saturday in Liberal.

Tipoff at Seward County's Green House is set for 8 p.m. The game will be videostreamed on the Blue Dragon Sports Network as well as broadcast on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and on sister stations KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5) beginning at 7:50 p.m.

Hutchinson, Seward County and Pratt are all tied for first place with 2-0 league records. Pratt plays at Dodge City on Saturday.

The defending Region VI champion Blue Dragons (16-2) enter the game on a nine-game winning streak after surviving a huge Garden City comeback on Wednesday in an 82-77 victory over the Broncbusters.

After going 4-6 in their first 10 games, the Saints (12-6) have reeled off eight consecutive victories, including a come-from-behind 85-82 win on Saturday at Colby.

Despite ending their 16-year drought in the Region VI Tournament in 2013, Hutchinson remains in a dry spell in winning Jayhawk West championships. Last winning the title in 2004, HCC has finished second in the conference title chase in the past three seasons to Seward County.

The Green House has been a tough place for HCC. The Blue Dragons have won just once in their last seven road trips to Liberal.



About the 2013-14 Blue Dragons

+ The Blue Dragons are No. 2 in the Jayhawk West in scoring average at 89.6 points per game. HCC has scored 80 or more points in 14 of 18 games and have reached the 100-point mark four times this season. The Blue Dragons are No. 4 in field-goal percentage (48.7 percent). HCC ranks last of eight teams in 3-point percentage at 30.6 percent, but is second in free-throw percentage at 71.6 percent.

+ HCC ranks last in the Jayhawk West in defensive scoring average (81.6 ppg.), seventh in field-goal defense (41.8 percent), but is second in the 3-point defense (29.9 percent).

+ Through two Jayhawk West games, The Blue Dragons offensively are scoring 87.0 points per game. HCC is shooting 49.1 percent in conference play, a much-improved 47.8 percent from point range (11 of 23) and 75.3 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, the Blue Dragons are allowing 78.5 points per game defensively. Opposing teams are shooting 40.8 percent and 22.2 percent from distance.

+ All-American Kadeem Allen is leading the Jayhawk West and is second in the nation in scoring at 28.6 points per game. He is shooting 46.4 percent overall, 34.3 percent from 3-point range and 75.7 percent from the free-throw line (8th in the Jayhawk West). He is averaging 7.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists (2nd in the Jayhawk West) and 1.9 steals per game (tied for 3rd in the Jayhawk West).

+ Allen has been named the Jayhawk Conference Player of the Week six times and NJCAA National Player of the Week twice.

+ Second-leading scorer DeShawn Freeman is two games into his return after missing nine games because of an injury. Freeman is averaging 16.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 56.0 percent from the field.

+ Sophomore Coreantae DeBerry continues to produce in the paint. DeBerry is now averaging 11.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He is shooting 64.3 percent, which ranks fourth in the Jayhawk West. DeBerry is also hitting 80.6 percent of his free throws, which leads the Jayhawk West.

+ Sophomore Tafari Whittingham is HCC's leading rebounder with 7.8 boards per game, which ranks fourth in the Jayhawk West. He is averaging 10.4 points per game. His shooting percentage has improved to 42.8 percent from the field. Whittingham has three double-doubles this season.

+ Guard Darrick Wood returned from a six-game absence three games ago. He's seen limited minutes since returning. He is averaging 9.8 points per game.

+ Sophomore Nathan Jackson has scored in double figures in 10 of 18 games. He is averaging 9.5 points while shooting 57.7 percent from the floor (seventh in the Jayhawk West). Jackson is also averaging 5.4 rebounds per game.

+ The Blue Dragons have been hot and cold in the rebounding department this season. They have been out-rebounded in 6 of 17 games. The Blue Dragons are 5-1 in those games. HCC is fourth in the Jayhawk West in rebounding at 43.6 boards per game, including 13.7 offensive caroms per game. The Dragons allow 40.0 boards per contest.

+ The Blue Dragons allowed a staggering 29 offensive rebounds to Garden City on Wednesday.

+ HCC turns the ball over 15.6 times per game and forces 14.6 takeaways per game.

+ The Dragons are averaging 16.9 assists per game, which ranks second in the West.

+ HCC is second in the league in blocked shots with 5.4 per game, coming off a season-high 10 swats vs. Garden City.



Scouting Seward County

+ The three-time defending Jayhawk West champion Saints got off to a rough start, opening the season 4-6. Bryan Zollinger's team has righted the Saints' ship with a winning streak of eight-straight games. Seward County has won by an average score of 94-68 during the winning streak.

+ Seward County will be making its Jayhawk Conference home opener on Saturday. The Saints have had a pair of nail-biters in their first two league games, defeating Garden City 75-69 last Saturday and rallied from a seven-point deficit on Wednesday to defeat Colby 85-82.

+ Seward County is scoring 83.8 points per game (4th in the Jayhawk West). The Saints are shooting 46.3 percent from the field overall (5th in the West), 30.9 percent (7th in the West) from 3-point range and 64.5 percent (5th in the West) from the foul line.

+ Defensively, Seward County is allowing 70.7 points per game. The Saints are fourth in scoring defense in the Jayhawk West. Opposing teams are shooting 39.0 percent overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range. Seward County is fifth and third in the league, respectively, in those two categories.

+ Niem Stevenson is the eighth-leading scorer in the Jayhawk West and leads the Saints at 16.3 points per game. Stevenson is shooting 49.7 percent from the floor, 31.1 percent from 3-point range and 63.5 percent from the line. Stevenson also averages 5.4 rebounds and ranks 10th in the league in steals at 1.40 per game.

+ Kevin Smith is second in scoring for Seward County at 14.3 points per game. He is second on the team with 16 3-pointers (31.4 percent). He is 10th in the league in made 3-pointers at 1.33 per game.

+ Secean Johnson is averaging 11.9 points per game and finds ways to get to the free-throw line. Shooting 73.1 percent at the stripe, Johnson averages 6.6 free-throw attempts per game. Johnson is averaging 4.7 rebounds.

+ Malcolm Hill-Bey has been on fire in conference play with 24 points against Garden City and a career-best 26 vs. Colby. For the season, Hill-Bey is averaging 11.2 points per game and is Seward County's top 3-point shooter at 33.8 percent with a team-high 22 made 3-pointers. Hill-Bey is ninth in the league in assists at 1.56 per game.

+ Brian Bridgeforth leads the Jayhawk West in field-goal percentage at 63.6 percent from the field. He is averaging 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

+ Seward County is averaging 41.9 rebounds and 14.9 offensive boards per game. The Saints allow 37.1 rebounds per game.

+ Seward County is averaging 12.3 assists, 8.6 steals and 2.6 blocks per game. The Saints turn the ball over an average of 15.8 times per game while forcing 19.7 takeaways.



Series history vs. Seward County

This will be the 85th meeting between Hutchinson and Seward County in a series that began in 1970.

The Blue Dragons own a decisive 68-26 all-time record against the Saints.

HCC is 41-4 all-time against Seward County in games played in Hutchinson. HCC owns a 26-18 record at Liberal. The Saints are 6-1 vs. Hutchinson at the Green House in the last seven meetings with the Blue Dragons.

HCC trails 4-1 in Region VI meetings, the only victory coming in 1981.



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