STEVE CARPENTER - Hutchinson CC Sports Information
ARKANSAS CITY – Freshman Majok Kuath had another huge game, but the Hutchinson Community College Men's Basketball Team came up just short against the Cowley Tigers in an NJCAA Top 20 matchup on Saturday at Scott Auditorium.
Leading by one point after a Kuath three-point play with 30.8 seconds to play, Cowley answered with a Shemarri Allen layup with 14.8 seconds to go to regain a one-point lead. The No. 12-ranked Blue Dragons weren't able to answer that challenge and fell to the No. 20 Tigers 84-83.
Hutchinson drops to 13-3 overall and 4-3 in the Jayhawk West. Cowley is now 15-3, 7-1 in the Jayhawk East. Hutchinson turns around and plays at home at 7:30 p.m. on Monday to take on Northwest Kansas Tech in the opening game of Jayhawk West play.
Kuath posted his second double-double of the season with career highs of 34 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Blue Dragons. Kuath is the first Blue Dragon to score 30 points in a game since James Rojas against Coffeyville in the 2019 Region VI Tournament semifinals.
Kuath had a huge second half, scoring 25 points on 9 of 11 shooting and going 7 of 7 from the free throw line and grabbing 10 rebounds in the final 20 minutes. For different times in the final 8 minutes of the game, Kuath scored to either give the lead or tie the game.
Trailing 82-80, Kuath took a lob from Tyler Brown on an inbound play to score and he was fouled. With 30.8 seconds left to play. Kuath's free throw gave Hutchinson an 83-82 lead.
Cowley regained the lead on Allen's layup with 14.8 seconds left. The Blue Dragons came up empty on its final possession.
The Blue Dragons shot 52.4 percent for the game (33 of 63) and out-rebounded the Tigers 44-33. The Blue Dragons also held the second-highest scoring team in the NJCAA 26 points under its 110-point scoring average and limited Cowley to 44.4 percent (32 of 72). Hutchinson hit only 3 of 13 3-pointers and 14 of 24 from the foul line. Hutchinson also committed 26 turnovers.
The Tigers had nine 3-pointers and were 11 of 13 from the free-throw line with 21 turnovers.
Saquan Singleton finished with 17 points on 8 of 14 shooting with six rebounds and five assists for Hutchinson. Josh Baker hit three 3-pointers to close with 13 points. Tyler Brown was next with eight points, adding five assists and a career-high five steals.
Dalen Ridgnal posted a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Allen finished with 13 points, while Mike'l Henderson and Cevin Clark had 10 points each.
The Blue Dragons got off to a great start, leading 11-7 after a Kuath three-point play with 17:00 to play in the first half. Another dunk by Kuath gave Hutch a 15-8 lead with 14:01 to play in the half. Cowley then answered with a 13-2 run to take a 21-17 lead after a Moun'tae Edmundson 3-pointer with 10:04 to go.
Cowley pushed its lead to seven at 29-22 after an Allen layup with 6:33 to play in the half and made it an eight-point lead after Ridgnal's 3-pointer with 4:29 to go gave the Tigers a 32-24 lead. The Blue Dragons countered with a 10-2 run to pull within 34-32 on a Brown layup with 1:03 to play. Cowley led 37-32 at halftime.
The Dragons captured their first lead of the second half on a Brown jumper with 16:24 to play that made it 44-42 Dragons. A Fred Odhiambo dunk bumped the lead to 47-42 with 15:10 to go. Cowley answered with a 11-2 run for a four-point lead, but Baker drilled a 3-pointer with 11:54 left to cut the Tiger lead to 53-52.
Cowley led 66-61 when the Dragons scored six unanswered with a Kuath putback, two Clarence King free throws and Kuath dunk with 7:30 to play for a 67-66 lead. The lead changed hands five more times in the final 7:30 of the game.
GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 86-42 all-time against Cowley, including 31-23 at Arkansas City. … Cowley had an opponent high 32 field goals against the Dragons. … The Dragons had a season-low 3-pointers. … The Blue Dragons are now 2-1 when trailing at halftime. … Clarence King had a career-best five rebounds.