(BY STEVE CARPENTER)
(HUTCHINSON CC SPORTS INFORMATION)
HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Sophomore D.J. Mitchell hit back-to-back 3-pointers in a key first-half stretch that helped the No. 2 Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team put No. 17 Coffeyville in a big hole and the Red Ravens never climbed out.
Mitchell had his second game of 27 or more points this season to lead the Blue Dragons to a Jayhawk Conference-opening 92-71 victory over the Red Ravens in a national Top 20 matchup on Wednesday at the Sports Arena.
Here Coach Eck's comments about the Coffeyville game:
The Blue Dragons improve to 9-0 overall and 1-0 in the Jayhawk West. Hutchinson travels to Independence on Saturday. Coffeyville falls to 8-3 overall and 0-1 in the Jayhawk East. The Blue Dragons now own a 29-22 overall series record with Coffeyville.
Hutchinson led 21-18 with 8:10 to play in the first half. While the decisive first-half run didn't start fast, the Blue Dragons clamped down defensive only in the Ravens, holding them scoreless for 4 minutes, 34 seconds. Mitchell hit a 3-pointer with 3:54 to go in the half for a 13-point lead. After Coffeyville's Meikkel Murray scored with 3:36 left to snap the Raven drought, Mitchell again bombed away from distance to give the Dragons a 34-20 lead with 2:47 to play, capping a 13-2 run.
Hutchinson led 40-26 at halftime, holding the Ravens to just 26.5 percent shooting (10 of 38) with only one 3-pointer in the opening 20 minutes.
Mitchell's 27-point effort came on 8 of 15 shooting, including those two 3-pointers, and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. Only his 28-point effort against Monroe on November 15 was better than Wednesday's output.
Sophomore Tyler Brown knocked down 4 of 6 3-point shots to finish with 20 points. He was 7 of 10 shooting overall. Majok Kuath had 14 points and seven rebounds on 6 of 12 shooting. Sophomore Saquan Singleton had 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
The Blue Dragons shot better than 50 percent for the fifth time this season with 51.7 percent from the field (31 of 60). The Dragons had nine or more 3-poiners for the fourth hit, hitting 9 of 13 from distance. Hutch was 21 of 24 from the free-throw line.
The Dragons were outrebounded for the first time this season, 39-37 and gave up a season-worst 20 offensive rebounds. The Dragons had just nine turnovers.
Coffeyville was held to its second-lowest shooting percentage of the season at 35.5 percent (26 of 71). The Ravens were 7 of 25 from 3-point range and 12 of 18 from the free-throw line. The Ravens committed 11 turnovers.
Tylor Perry finished with 19 points, hitting 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Manny Crump had 15 points, Murray 14 and Tyronn Mosley 11. Murray had a double-double with 11 rebounds.
Mosley converted a three-point play with 8:10 remaining to cut the Blue Dragon lead to 21-18. The Dragons then embarked on their key 13-2 run. Mitchell had 10 of the 13 points in the key stretch of the game.
Two Clarence King free throws with 34 seconds left upped the Dragon advantage to 40-24 before taking a 40-26 halftime lead. Despite the dominant first half, Hutch shot just 39.4 percent in the first half.
Murray scored with 18:29 to play in the second half to pull the Red Ravens within nine points at 42-33. That was the closest the Ravens got in the final 20 minutes. Four-straight Mitchell free throws started a 13-3 Dragon run that was capped by a Brown 3-pointer with 14:38 remaining to give the Dragons a 55-36 lead.
A Kuath 3-pointer with 13:39 left bumped the Dragon lead to 20 at 58-38. Hutchinson shot 66.7 percent (18 of 27) in a 52-45 second half.
COFFEYVILLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Pts: Tylor Perry - 18
Reb: Meikkel Murray - 11
Ast: 4 Players (#02, #03, #10, #23) - 2
HUTCHINSON COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Pts: D.J. Mitchell - 27
Reb: Saquan Singleton - 9
Ast: Saquan Singleton - 5