Feb 22, 2024

🏀 MBB: Clutch free throws lift No. 15 HutchCC

Posted Feb 22, 2024 11:45 AM

GOODLAND, Kan. — The No. 15-ranked Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team battled late for an 89-84 win over Northwest Tech on Wednesday in the Max Jones Fieldhouse.

Hutchinson is now 22-4 overall and 17-3 in Jayhawk Conference play. The Blue Dragons are 0.5 games behind Cowley for second place and a full two games back of Barton for the top spot in the conference standings with four games remaining.

The Blue Dragons knocked down 10 free throws during the final 58 seconds to go from down 81-79 to up 89-81 before a desperation 3-pointer was knocked down by the Mavericks in the final seconds.

JP Ricks finished the game with a career-high 26 points, knocking down 14-of-17 from the free throw line, including seven-of-seven in the final minute. 

Hutchinson finished 31-of-38 at the foul stripe for 81.6 percent. The 31 made free throws is a season-high, edging out a 30-made free throw game against NEO in November. The Blue Dragons went to the line 43 times in that meeting with the Norse.

The Blue Dragons and Mavericks saw 12 ties and 16 lead changes throughout the course of the game. Hutchinson had the largest lead of the game at nine, nearly three minutes gone in the second half. Northwest Tech (11-15, 7-13) led by as many as four points, which they did several times throughout the game.

Hutchinson finished the game 27-of-53 (51 percent) from the floor, while Northwest Tech shot 43 percent (32-of-74).

The Mavericks on average go to the free throw line 29 times a game, knocking down 21 of those, both second-best in the NJCAA, were held to 17-of-21 at the stripe on Wednesday.

Besides the career-high 26 points from Ricks, he also brought down eight rebounds and dished off a team-high six assists in the win. Kam Thomas finished with 17 points, while Kernan Bundy added 16, and Tino Simon 10. 

The one downside to the win for the Blue Dragons were the turnovers. Hutchinson committed a season-high 29 turnovers, 21 of which came in the first half. The 29 turnovers resulted in 36 Northwest Tech points.

The Mavericks were led by Keyishon Miller with 19 points, while Charles Fofanah added 18, Idris Williams 17, and Taiden Conner finished with 11 to lead Northwest Tech in double figures.

Hutchinson will travel to Liberal on Saturday to face Seward County for a 6 p.m. tip off. Northwest Tech will make their shortest trip of the season to Colby.