DRAGONS EXPLODE IN SECOND HALF TO GIVE ECK 450TH NJCAA COACHING WIN
GREAT BEND - Hutchinson Community College head men's basketball coach captured his 450th junior college coaching victory on Wednesday at Barton. It took a gritty second half and explosive final 5 minutes to get him there.
The 15th-ranked Blue Dragons rallied from their largest halftime deficit this season to defeat the Cougars 98-85 at the Barton Gym.
With stints and four NJCAA institutions - Butler County, Redlands, Cowley and Hutchinson - Eck has amassed a junior college record of 450-79 in 14-plus seasons. He has 128 of those victories at Hutchinson and an overall coaching record of 778-113 at all levels he has coached.
Trailing 40-35 at halftime and by as many as seven points in the second half, the Blue Dragons found a way to come back and remain in a first-place tie in the Jayhawk West with Seward County.
With HCC trailing 70-67, freshman Derrick Wood hit a 3-pointer with 5:06 remaining in the contest to the game. From that point, Hutchinson outscored Barton 31-15, scoring a season-high-tying 63 points and shooting 51.4 percent in the second half.
The Blue Dragons (19-3, 5-1 Jayhawk West) had five players score in double figures and two players post double-doubles.
All-American Kareem Allen posted his fifth double-double of the season with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Allen also had four assists. Allen moved past Tony Arrington into sixth place on the Blue Dragon career scoring list with 1,199 points.
Wood scored a season-high 25 points, hitting a season-high-tying three 3-point field goals. Wood added seven rebounds.
Sophomore Core antae Dewberry helped HCC reverse an ugly first-half rebounding deficit to post his fifth double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds. DeBerry added two huge blocked shots.
Freshman Austin Budke knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 16 points. DeShawn Freeman had 13 points.
The Blue Dragons shot 46.3 percent (31 of 67) for the game. They tied a season high with nine 3-point field goals on 21 attempts. HCC was 27 of 38 at the free-throw line. HCC committed just 10 turnovers.
Hutchinson held a 52-43 rebounding advantage despite giving up 17 offensive rebounds in the first half. The Dragons cut that number to six offensive boards by the Cougars in the second half.
Darius Gibson finished with 23 points to lead Barton (16-6, 3-3). Deriece Parks had 19 points, while Tyler Corley had 11 and Isaac Williams added 10.
Despite shooting 50 percent in the second half, Barton shot 39.7 percent overall (31 of 78), hitting 6 of 23 from 3-point range and 17 of 27 from the foul line. The Cougars had just seven turnovers.
The expected shooting by the top two scoring offenses in the Jayhawk West took awhile to get going. There were four lead changes in the first 10 minutes of the game. Budke's 3-pointer at the 10:42 mark gave Hutchinson a slim 16-15 lead.
A five-point run later helped HCC edge out to a 29-24 lead with 4:44 to play. The Dragons produced just two field goals over the final 5 minutes. With HCC up 33-32 with 2:51 remaining, Barton closed the half with an 8-2 run that was capped off by Rashawn Walker's dunk with 3 seconds left. The Cougars led 40-35 at halftime.
Despite repeated attempts by Hutchinson early in the second half to erase the Barton lead, the teams kept trading baskets the period. The Cougars got the lead out to seven twice (44-37 and 50-43), but Hutchinson didn't let the Cougars out of its sight.
Trailing 58-52, five-straight by HCC pulled the Blue Dragons within 58-57 with 10:24 to go. The Cougars repelled the Blue Dragons again pulled within one point with 10:24 to play, but couldn't get over that either. Two Allen free throws tied the game at 64-64 with 6:53 to go. Barton looked poised to stretch out the game, but Wood hit a 3-pointer to keep the Dragons close.
Then down 70-67, HCC tied the game on another Wood trey. From that point, Hutchinson pulled away.
A three-point play by Allen quickly pushed the lead to 10 with 2:20 to play at 86-76. The Blue Dragons in the final three minutes were 9 of 11 from the free-throw line.
Hutchinson outscored Barton 63-45 in the second half, including 31-15 in the final 7:30.
GAME NOTES - This was Hutchinson's first win over Barton in Great Bend since 2011. … Kadeem Allen has six career double-doubles. … This was all-time win No. 1,647. … HCC is now 80-22 vs. Barton. … Allen took sole possession of HCC's single-season free throw record at 211. … HCC is now 12-3 when allowing 80-plus points. … This was HCC's ninth game of scoring nine months. … This was Austin Budke's fifth game of three or more 3-pointers in a game. … After missing four games, Andre Sands returns to lineup and grabs a season high six rebounds. .. . DeShawn Freeman tied a season high with three blocks.