The Blue Dragons (20-6, 7-5) Jayhawk West) travels west to take on the Colby Trojans (12-15, 3-10) at 4 p.m. at the Colby Community Building.
The game will be broadcast live on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and sister stations KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5) beginning at 3:50 p.m. The game will also be streamed live on the Blue Dragon Sports Network at 3:50 p.m.
The Blue Dragons are mired in a two-game losing streak to the two teams above them in the Jayhawk West standings, Butler and Barton. HCC is currently tied for third with Pratt (Wednesday’s opponent at the Sports Arena) and are just one game ahead of Seward County (Feb. 25 at the Arena).
Five teams are in the hunt for the final two home games awarded to Jayhawk West teams. Dodge City is at 6-7 and Garden City is 5-8 in the league standings.
HCC made a huge rally last Wednesday to get back within four of Barton after trailing by 20 points, but the Cougars dropped an 86-73 decision to the surging Cougars at the Sports Arena. HCC missed 14 of its first 17 shot attempts and found itself down 30-10 in the opening half.
Colby enters Sunday’s game on a four-game losing streak and are 1-6 since dropping a 101-70 decision to Hutchinson on Jan. 17 at the Sports Arena.
Last Wednesday, the Trojans, coached by former Blue Dragon Rusty Grafel and assistant coach Kevin Jolley, lost 80-54 to No. 5 Butler at El Dorado. The Trojans had 23 turnovers.
HCC freshman Bashier Ahmed had a huge game in that Jan. 17 meeting with 23 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. DeShawn Freeman added 20 points, Keanu Pinder had 16, Austin Budke had 14 and Che Bob added 10 as Hutchinson shot 52.7 percent from the field.
The 2015 Blue Dragons have become one of the best shot-blocking teams in the nation. HCC is averaging a Jayhawk West-leading 6.9 rejections per game, 7.5 blocks in conference play.
Just 26 games into the season, the Blue Dragons are just eight blocks away from surpassing the 2013 Region VI championship game as the all-time record holder. The current Blue Dragons have 180, coming off 13 swats on Wednesday vs. Barton.
Game 27: No. 21 Hutchinson at Colby
Date: Sunday, February 15, 2015
Time: 4 p.m.
Site: Colby Community Building, Colby, KS
Live Radio: KHUT-FM (102.9); KWBW-AM (1450); KWBW-FM (98.5), 3:50 p.m.
Live Video: Blue Dragon Sports Network, 3:50 p.m.
Live Stats: Blue Dragon Sports Network
HUTCHINSON BLUE DRAGONS
2014-15 Record: 20-6
2015 Jayhawk West Record: 7-5
NJCAA National Rank: No. 21
Head Coach: Steve Eck, 6th season
2014-15 Record: 12-15
2015 Jayhawk West Record: 3-10
NJCAA National Rank: Unranked
Head Coach: Rusty Grafel, 3rd season
About the 2014-15 Blue Dragons
+ The Blue Dragons are averaging 82.5 points offensively, which is third in the Jayhawk West. HCC shoots 46.7 percent from the field (5th in West). The Dragons average a league-low 5.1 makes from deep and shooting 33.1 percent from behind the arc.
+ Getting to the free-throw line is a huge part of the Blue Dragons’ game. HCC is shooting 66.6 percent as a team. The Dragons are fifth in the Jayhawk and 19th in the NJCAA in made free throws at 20.7 per game.
+ The Blue Dragons are allowing 72.3 points per contest, which is third best in the Jayhawk West. The Blue Dragons are No. 1 in the Jayhawk West and No. 14 in the NJCAA in defensive field-goal percentage at 38.6 percent. The Blue Dragons are allowing 33.2 percent from behind the 3-point line with opponents averaging 7.6 made 3s. HCC has allowed 10 or more 3-pointers seven times this season.
+ In conference play, HCC is averaging 80.4 points per game offensively, shooting 44.3 percent overall and 31.8 percent from long range. HCC has shot just 66.5 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, the Blue Dragons allow 76.3 points per game and are allowing 40.9 percent overall and 34.6 percent from the 3-point line.
+ Sophomore forward DeShawn Freeman is second in the Jayhawk West in scoring and is one of three players in double figures at 18.8 points per game. Freeman is fourth in the league shooting 55.6 percent overall and 65.2 percent from the foul line. Freeman is No. 2 in the Jayhawk West in rebounding at 9.2 caroms per game. Freeman has 11 double-doubles this season.
In conference play, Freeman is averaging 15.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game shooting 51.9 percent.
+ Freshman Bashier Ahmed has seven double-doubles. He second on the team in scoring and fifth in the Jayhawk West at 16.5 points per game. He is shooting 46.7 percent from the field and has 35 3-pointers, shooting 38.0 percent from deep. Ahmed is HCC’s second-leading rebounder at 7.3 boards per game, which is fifth in the Jayhawk West. Ahmed has improved at the free-throw line, now up to 73.1 percent.
Ahmed is at 18.2 points per game, shooting 45.2 percent in conference play, averaging 7.1 rebounds per game.
+ Sophomore Austin Budke has a pair of 20-point games and three double-doubles this season. He is third on the team in scoring at 12.0 points per game. Budke is shooting 44.0 percent and 73.6 percent from the foul line. Budke has been a workhorse in league games, averaging 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.
+ The Blue Dragons are averaging a strong 27.3 points per game off the bench. Freshman guard Akbar Hoffman is HCC’s leading scorer off the bench at 10.7 points per game and is averaging 11.7 points per conference game. Hoffman is shooting 29.7 percent from long range with 33 3-pointers. Freshman Che Bob, who had a career-high 31 points against Northeast Nebraska, is at 9.7 points per game. He is shooting 45.5 percent overall, 35.9 percent from 3-point range and 72.5 percent from the foul line.
+ Hutchinson ranks second in the Jayhawk West in rebounding at 44.3 rebounds per game, including 15.2 offensive rebounds. The Blue Dragons allow 35.8 rebounds and 13.3 offensive caroms. HCC is a plus-4.9 rebounding margin in league play.
+ The Blue Dragons rank fourth of nine teams in the Jayhawk West in assists at 15.5 per game. Sophomore Zach Winter has a team-high 74. He had a stretch with 26 assists and just one turnover over four games.
+ Turnovers have been an issue for the Blue Dragons this season. HCC has had 15 or more turnovers in 18 of 26 games so far and more than 20 in eight of those games with a season high 27 against both Western Texas and North Lake College. The Dragons are turning the ball over 17.9 times per game, while forcing only 15.7.
+ Ahmed’s 41 steals leads a Dragon team that is fifth in steals at 8.8 per game.
+ The Dragons are the Jayhawk West leader and rank eighth in the NJCAA in blocked shots at 6.9 rejections per game. Keanu Pinder has a team-high 46 blocked shots. Moataz Aly has 39, Freeman has 29 blocks and Bob has 27.
+ Two-third of Colby’s coaching staff has direct Blue Dragon ties. Head coach Rusty Grafel and assistant coach Kevin Jolley were teammates on Hutchinson’s 2004 Jayhawk West championship team. Egan Grafel, the Trojans’ second assistant and Rusty’s brother, played at Cloud County.
+ Colby is ranked ninth in scoring in the Jayhawk West this season at 75.8 points per game. The Trojans are eighth in field-goal percentage (41.8 percent), fourth in made 3-pointers (6.3/game) and sixth in 3-point percentage (34.5 percent). Colby ranks last in the Jayhawk West in free-throw shooting at 57.8 percent.
+ Defensively, Colby is eighth in the Jayhawk West in scoring defense at 75.9 points per game. The Trojans rank sixth in total field-goal defense (42.5 percent) and sixth in defending the 3-pointer (37.5 percent).
+ Khyree Wooten is the fourth-leading scorer in the Jayhawk West at 17.3 points per game. He shoots 44.3 percent from the floor and averages 7.3 free-throw attempts per game while shooting 66.8 percent from the stripe. Wooten also averages 5.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
+ Bruce Watkins Jr. averages 14.2 points per game while shooting 35.9 percent. One of the top snipers in the Jayhawk West, Watkins is third in made 3s at 2.4 per game and shoots 36.7 percent from deep. Watkins also averages 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals.
+ Brian Starr is Colby’s third-leading scorer at 10.0 points per game. He averages 5.0 assists, which is fourth in the league.
+ Colby is the second-best rebounding team in the Jayhawk West at 43.1 rebounds per game. The Trojans are just a plus-1.2 in rebounding margin. Opposing teams average 41.9 boards per game.
+ Colby averages 15.2 assists, 7.4 steals and 4.4 blocks per game.
+ Colby is 5-7 at home, 6-7 in road games and 1-1 on neutral floors.
Series history vs. Colby
Sunday’s meeting will be the 46th meeting between Hutchinson and Colby in a series that began in 1968. HCC and Colby have been conference rivals since the Trojans joined the league in 1996.
The Blue Dragons own a 41-4 all-time record over the Trojans. The Dragons are 22-1 in games played against Colby at the Sports Arena and 17-3 against the Trojans in the Colby Community Building.
The teams have met twice in Region VI Tournament play with HCC winning both. The last postseason meeting was 2013.
As conference opponents, the Dragons are 33-4. HCC has won the last seven meetings.