BLUE DRAGONS RENEW RIVALRY WITH BUTLER ON THURSDAY IN REGION VI QUARTERFINALS
Long-time rivals will meet in the Region VI Tournament for the first time since 1997 as the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team meets the Butler Grizzlies in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Region VI Men's Basketball Tournament on Thursday in Wichita.
Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Wichita State University's Charles Koch Arena. The game will be the second of four men's quarterfinal games. The game will be streamed live on the Blue Dragon Sports Network and will be broadcast live on KHMY-FM (93.1)
The last time that Hutchinson and Butler played in the Region VI Tournament came in 1997 in the championship game, a 66-56 Blue Dragon victory.
Thursday's matchup will be the 14th Region VI matchup ever between the Blue Dragons and Grizzlies.
Hutchinson and Butler meet for the third time this season with the series to be decided on a neutral court. HCC (24-7) won the first meeting 96-85 on Nov. 9 at the Sports Arena. Butler (22-9) won the rematch with the Dragons 80-78 nine days later in El Dorado.
The defending Region VI champion Blue Dragons, the tournament's No. 4 overall seed, advanced to their seventh consecutive quarterfinal berth after a 93-83 victory over Allen on Saturday. All-American Kadeem Allen posted his second triple-double of the season with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Butler, the No. 5 overall seed in the tournament, went down to the wire and earned a 63-59 victory over Barton on Saturday at El Dorado.
The Hutchinson-Butler winner will meet the Independence-Northwest Kansas Tech winner at 5 p.m. on Friday in the Region VI Quarterfinals.
Blue Dragon history in Region VI Tournament
Nineteen Region VI championships turned into 17 appearances in the NJCAA Tournament and two junior college national championships for the Blue Dragons.
Since the regional system was instituted by the NJCAA in 1954, the Blue Dragons are a staggering 121-43 in regional play.
HCC makes its 58th Region VI appearance, missing only in 1989 and 1991.
Last season, Hutchinson ended a 16-year Region VI championship drought, winning its 19th Region VI championship.
In 2010, the Blue Dragons ended a five-year drought of semifinal appearances and have advanced that far in Steve Eck's first two seasons at the helm.
Hutchinson and Butler have met 13 times. This is the first meeting since the 1997 Region VI Tournament Championship game when HCC defeated Butler 66-56.
The Blue Dragons are 3-1 in quarterfinal matchups under current head coach Steve Eck. They are playing in their seventh consecutive quarterfinal and their 52nd quarterfinal appearance. HCC is 41-11 in quarterfinal games.
About the 2013-14 Blue Dragons
+ The Blue Dragons led the Jayhawk West in scoring offense this season at 89.3 points per game. HCC broke 90 points 13 times and 100 points five times. HCC is shooting 49.1 percent for the season, 31.0 percent from 3-point range and 72.0 percent from the foul line.
+ The Blue Dragons have had their defensive struggles at times this season. HCC is allowing 83.0 points per game, which if it stands would be the highest scoring average allowed in program history. Opposing teams are shooting 43.1 percent overall and 31.9 percent from 3-point range.
+ All-American Kadeem Allen led the Jayhawk West and is the second-leading scorer in the nation at 26.8 points per game. He is shooting 45.8 percent overall, 30.6 percent from 3-point range and 75.5 percent from the free-throw line (6th in the Jayhawk West). He is averaging 7.3 rebounds, 5.62 assists (2nd in the Jayhawk West) and 2.28 steals per game (tied for 2nd in the West). Allen also averages 7.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.27 steals per game.
+ Missing a total of 14 games over two different segments of this season because of injuries, second-leading scorer DeShawn Freeman has played in the last two games. Freeman is averaging 15.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the field.
+ Sophomore center Coreantae DeBerry is averaging 11.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. DeBerry is third in the NJCAA in field-goal percentage at 69.0 percent.
+ Sophomore Tafari Whittingham remains out - 12 games missed - because of an injury, but could return for the Wichita portion of the tournament. He is HCC's leading rebounder with 7.8 boards per game. He was averaging 10.2 points per game. Whittingham had three double-doubles this season.
+ Since returning from injury five games ago, sophomore guard Darrick Wood has averaged 20.4 points per game. Overall, Wood is averaging 13.6 points. He is shooting 44.9 percent from the field. Tied for the team lead with 33 makes, Wood is shooting 31.4 percent from distance. He shoots 80.7 percent from the free-throw line.
+ After scoring a career-best 20 point vs. Pratt on Feb. 15 vs. Pratt, freshman Austin Budke has battled the injury bug. Budke is averaging 8.2 points per game, 9.2 points in Jayhawk West games this season. Budke is shooting 48.3 percent from the field, including 36.3 percent on 29 makes from 3-point range. Budke is also averaging 3.1 rebounds per game.
+ Sophomore Nathan Jackson has scored in double figures in 19 of 31 games, including 8 of his last 9 games. Jackson now averaging to 9.9 points while shooting 55.7 percent from the floor and 5.8 rebounds per game. Jackson had his first career double-double vs. Seward County in February.
+ Sophomore B.J. Watson and freshman Darius Freeman have been huge spark plugs for the Blue Dragons during the rash in injuries this season. Watson has started 8 of 29 games played and averaged 4.2 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. He had a career-high 23 points and six steals vs. Cloud County. Freeman comes off a career-high 11 points with a pair of 3-pointers vs. Allen in the Region VI opening round.
+ The Blue Dragons have been hot and cold in the rebounding department this season. The Blue Dragons average 40.8 rebounds per game, including 13.1 offensive rebounds per game. Hutchinson has allowed 39.9 rebounds per game, including a huge 16.1 offensive boards per contest. Opponents have cashed in an average of 14.1 points per game on second-chance points. Hutchinson has been out-rebounded 13 times this season.
+ HCC turns the ball over 14.1 times per game and forces 14.5 takeaways per game.
+ The Dragons are averaging 17.0 assists per game.
+ HCC is second in the league in blocked shots with 5.3 per game. Hutch had a season-high 10 swats vs. Garden City.
+ Because of injuries, Blue Dragon players have missed a combined 46 games this season. Zach Winter is out for the season with an injury.
+ After a stretch where they lost three in a row and 6 of 11, the Grizzlies have righted the ship with three-straight victories over Labette, Neosho County and Barton in the opening round of the Region VI Tournament.
+ Butler comes into the Region VI quarterfinals averaging 79,0 points per game. The Grizzlies are shooting 46.6 percent from the field, including 34.4 percent from 3-point range on 194 makes. Butler is shooting 66.2 percent from the free-throw line.
+ Defensively, Mike Bargen's team is allowing 72.1 points per game. Opponents are shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 30.2 percent from 3-point range.
+ Guard Shomari Triggs is Butler's leading scorer at 16.8 points per game. Triggs is shooting 42.3 percent from the floor overall, bur has knocked down 37.6 percent from 3-point range on 38 makes. Triggs shoots 81.4 percent from the foul line. Butler's point guard averages 5.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
+ Larry Fitzgerald shoots 51.9 percent from the floor and is the team's second-leading scorer at 12.2 points per game. Fitzgerald averages 4.5 rebounds per game,.
+ Bakari Triggs averages 11.0 points per game, hitting a team-high 39 3-point goals and a clip of 35.8 percent from distance. Triggs averages 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
+ Sean Goodwin averages 10.2 points and 4.5 rebounds, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.
+ Trent Richardson is right at double figures at 9.9 points per game.
+ Butler averages 33.7 rebounds per contest and allows an impressive 30.6 boards per contest.
+ The Grizzlies average 14.8 assists, 7,4 steals and 2.0 blocked shots per game.
+ Butler turns the ball over 14.5 times per game and forced an average of 16.6 opponent turnovers per contest.
+ Butler is 3-0 in overtime games this season, including 1-0 in double overtime.
Series history against Butler
This will be the 181st meeting between Hutchinson and Butler in a series that began in 1929. Butler is one of four opponents that the Blue Dragons have at least 100 victories against. HCC is 117-63 overall against the Grizzlies.
HCC is 61-23 in games played in Hutchinson and 47-16 in games played at the Sports Arena. HCC is 46-36 in El Dorado. The Dragons own a 9-4 advantage in Region VI meetings with the Grizzlies.
Hutchinson has played more games against Butler, 180, than any other opponent.
Sat. Mar. 1 - Men's Games at Higher Seeds 4:00 - Independence (20-10) def (9-21) Colby 80-63 - 8:00 - NW Kansas Tech (18-12) def (17-12) Cloud Co 82-73 OT - 4:00 - Butler (21-9) def (20-10) Barton 63-59 - 4:00 - Hutchinson (23-7) def (16-14) Allen 93-83 - 7:00 - Coffeyville (22-8) def (15-15) Dodge City 67-64 - 4:00 - Pratt (18-12) def (14-16) Labette 93-71 2:00 - Neosho County (20-10) def (22-8) Garden City 74-59 - 8:00 - Seward County (21-9) def (15-15) Cowley 82-39 -
Thur. Mar. 6 - Region VI Men's D-I Quarterfinals at Koch Arena - WSU - Wichita, KS 1:00 - Independence (21-10) vs (19-12) NW Kansas Tech - 3:00 - Butler (22-9) vs (24-7) Hutchinson - 5:00 - Coffeyville (23-8) vs (19-12) Pratt - 7:00 - Neosho County (21-10) vs (22-9) Seward County -
Fri. Mar. 7 - Region VI Men's D-I Semifinals at Koch Arena - WSU - Wichita, KS 5:00 - Indy/NWKTC vs Butler/Hutch Winners 7:00 - Coffeyville/Pratt vs Neosho/Seward Winners
Sat. Mar. 8 - Region VI Men's D-I Championship at Koch Arena - WSU - Wichita, KS 7:00 -
Mar. 17-22 NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championships - Hutchinson, KS