Hutch to take on Cloud

GAME 20 - No. 12 Hutchinson (16-3, 2-1) vs. Cloud County (9-10, 1-2)
Date: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m.
Site: Hutchinson Sports Arena, Hutchinson, KS (Capacity: 7,000)
Radio: KHUT-FM (102.9); KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5) - Glen Grunwald (PBP); Rusty Hilst (Analysis), 7:20 p.m.
Internet Video, Live Stats:, 7:20 p.m.
Twitter: @bluedragonsport
Tickets: Reserved - $7; GA - $5
Twitter: Chili & Ice Cream Feed
As if a 22-point loss in a battle for first place didn't hurt enough, the pain of multiple injuries is really making the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team say "ouch."
The Blue Dragons look to rebound on Wednesday when suddenly surging Cloud County comes to the Sports Arena for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff. The game will be videostreamed on the Blue Dragon Sports Network and broadcast on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and sister stations KWBW-AM/FM (1450/89.5).
The annual Blue Dragon Chili and Ice Cream feed will begin at 5 p.m. in the Arena's small gym.
Hutchinson (16-3) fell out of a Jayhawk West first-place tie on Saturday night when Seward County shot almost 54 percent from the field in a 98-76 victory over the Dragons in Liberal.
Entering play on Wednesday, the Blue Dragons have injury issues to deal with. Freshman forward Andre Sands will miss his third-straight game and it appears that sophomore forward Tafari Whittingham will not be available with an injury. Already this year, DeShawn Freeman and Darrick Wood missed extended time with injuries.
The Blue Dragons will take on a big, physical Cloud County team that avoided an 0-3 start in the Jayhawk West with a 91-82 home victory over Barton on Saturday.
Hutchinson will have to defense a pair of the Jayhawk West's top six scorers. Cloud County's Shaun Stewart is third in the league in scoring at 10.4 points per game. He had 20 points vs. Barton on Saturday. Lorenzo Dillard had 22 points vs. Barton and his sixth in the league in scoring at 17.1 points per game.
HCC All-American Kadeem Allen continues to set the scoring pace in the Jayhawk Conference and ranks No. 2 in the NJCAA in scoring at 28.5 points per game.
About the 2013-14 Blue Dragons
+ The Blue Dragons are No. 2 in the Jayhawk West in scoring average at 88.9 points per game. HCC has scored 80 or more points in 14 of 19 games and have reached the 100-point mark four times this season. The Blue Dragons are No. 2 in field-goal percentage (48.1 percent). HCC ranks last of eight teams in 3-point percentage at 29.7 percent, but now leads the league in free-throw percentage at 71.2 percent.
+ HCC ranks last in the Jayhawk West in defensive scoring average (82.4 ppg.), seventh in field-goal defense (42.4 percent), but is second in the 3-point defense (30.3 percent).
+ Through three Jayhawk West games, The Blue Dragons offensively are scoring 83.3 points per game. HCC is shooting 44.9 percent in conference play, a much-improved 36.1 percent from point range (13 of 36) and 72.5 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, the Blue Dragons are allowing 85.0 points per game defensively. Opposing teams are shooting 44.7 percent and 27.1 percent from distance.
+ All-American Kadeem Allen is leading the Jayhawk West and is second in the nation in scoring at 28.5 points per game. He is shooting 45.8 percent overall, 33.3 percent from 3-point range and 74.2 percent from the free-throw line (ninth in the Jayhawk West). He is averaging 7.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists (2nd in the Jayhawk West) and 1.9 steals per game (tied for 4th 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 three games into his return after missing nine games because of an injury. Freeman is averaging 15.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 54.2 percent from the field.
+ Sophomore Coreantae DeBerry continues to produce in the paint. DeBerry is now averaging 10.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. He is shooting 64.4 percent, which ranks second in the Jayhawk West. DeBerry is also hitting 80.6 percent of his free throws, which leads the Jayhawk West.
+ Sophomore Tafari Whittingham may be out for a while with an injury. He is HCC's leading rebounder with 7.8 boards per game, which ranks fourth in the Jayhawk West. He is averaging 10.2 points per game. Whittingham has three double-doubles this season.
+ Guard Darrick Wood returned from a six-game absence four games ago. He's seen limited minutes since returning. He is averaging 9.4 points per game.
+ Sophomore Nathan Jackson has scored in double figures in 10 of 19 games. He is averaging 9.4 points while shooting 57.7 percent from the floor (eighth in the Jayhawk West). Jackson is also averaging 5.5 rebounds per game.
+ The Blue Dragons have been hot and cold in the rebounding department this season. HCC is fourth in the Jayhawk West in rebounding at 43.2 boards per game, including 13.9 offensive caroms per game. The Dragons allow 39.9 boards per contest.
+ HCC turns the ball over 15.7 times per game and forces 14.7 takeaways per game.
+ The Dragons are averaging 16.5 assists per game, which ranks second in the West.
+ HCC is second in the league in blocked shots with 5.3 per game. Hutch had a season-high 10 swats vs. Garden City.
Scouting Cloud County
+ The Thunderbirds have been streaky this season. They have had win streak of four and three games and losing streaks of three and give games. Cloud County avoided an 0-3 start to Jayhawk West play with a 91-82 home victory over Barton on Saturday.
+ Cloud County is has the third-best scoring offense in the Jayhawk West at 83.3 points per game. The T-Birds are last in the league in field-goal percentage at 42.0 percent, but rank second in 3-point percentage at 34.8 percent. Only Barton has more made 3-pointers than Cloud County. Cloud averages 6.2 made 3-pointers per game. The Thunderbirds are fourth in the league in free-throw percentage at 65.8 percent.
+ Defensively, Cloud County has the top defensive 3-point team in the Jayhawk West at 30.2 percent allowed. The T-Birds are second in field-goal defense at 38.5 percent, but rank fifth in scoring defense at 73.7 percent from the field.
+ Shaun Stewart is No. 3 in the Jayhawk West in scoring at 20.4 points per game. He leads the league in made 3-pointers at 2.65 makes/game. His 39.5 percent from long range ranks fifth in the league. Stewart is seventh in assists at 3.29 per game.
+ Lorenzo Dillard is sixth in scoring at 17.1 points per game. He's a 33.3 percent shooter from long range and is third in the Jayhawk West in assists at 5.18 per game.
+ Marvin Smith is third on team in scoring at 11.2 points per game. He averages a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game.
+ Stewart, Dillard, Diop and Derek Henry all shoot better than 70 percent from the foul line. Stewart's 75.9 percent at the line is fifth in the West.
+ Lionel Gomis is the top rebounder in the Jayhawk West at 9.4 boards per game. Martin Smith ranks at 7.47 rebounds/game. The Thunderbirds average 47.9 rebounds per game and allow 36.0 per contest.
+ Dillard is the Jayhawk West leader in steals at 2.65 per game. Steward ranks third at 2.18 per game. As a team, Cloud leads the Jayhawk West with 9.71 steals per game.
+ Cloud County is third in the league with 16.5 assists per game.
+ The Thunderbirds turn the ball over 15.4 times per game and force opponents into 17.1 turnovers per game.
Series history vs. Cloud County
This will be the 59th meeting between Hutchinson and Cloud County in a series that began in 1967. The teams became conference rivals in the 1996-97 season.
The Blue Dragons own a decisive 42-16 all-time record against the Thunderbirds.
HCC is 23-2 all-time against Cloud County in games played in Hutchinson, 14-13 at Concordia and are 5-1 against Cloud County in Region VI meetings.
Since becoming Jayhawk West rivals, the Blue Dragons lead the series with Cloud County 24-11.