Playing without the leading scorer in the Jayhawk Conference in Kevin Sims and against the 2nd ranked team in the country, the Hutchinson Blue Dragons, the Seward County Saints had their hands full Wednesday night in the Hutchinson Sports Arena and while the Saints hung with the Dragons for a portion of the first half, in the end, Hutchinson was too much for the guys in green in an 88-65 final that drops Seward to 6-12 on the year.
Early on, the Saints were hot, jumping out to a 7-3 lead on the Dragons before a quick Hutchinson timeout. Seward's third three of the opening minutes put them up 12-6, but Hutchinson roared back with 10 straight points, erasing the Saints lead and taking a four point lead of their own at 16-12. The Saints kept fighting though and four straight from Tre Kidd and a three from Malik Brown gave them the lead back at 22-20 with 12:52 to go in the half. Hutchinson quickly answered to tie the score back up and used the bucket to jumpstart a 15-3 run to put the lead back on the Dragons side at 35-25. Seward remained ice cold as after breaking a scoring drought, they began another, putting just five points on the board between the 12:52 to 2:47 mark of the half as the Blue Dragons blew the game wide open at 46-27. A couple late buckets by Seward took a cut out of the Hutchinson lead at the half, but after 20 minutes of action the Blue Dragons remained in control 50-34.
Seward was outshot by Hutchinson 54% to 36% in the half and was outrebounded by the Dragons 27-15. One thing keeping the game from getting completely out of hand was the Saints turnover number that they kept to just three in the period.
The Saints came out in the second with a little bit of fight, scoring the first three points to trim the Dragon lead back to 13. Seward got back to within a dozen twice in the next few minutes, but couldn't come up with a stop against the Dragons as they moved their lead back to 17 with 12:38 left on a three by Wichita State signee Samajae Haynes- Jones. The shorthanded Saints continued to scratch and claw just to stay within earshot of the Dragons, but eventually, Hutchinson flexed their muscles, going on a 9-1 run to finish the game to come away with an 88-65 win in front of their home crowd.
Seward turned it over a season low six times in the loss, but also shot just 30%, their second lowest mark of the season. Brown led Seward with 15 in the loss while Kidd scored a career high 14.
The Saints fall for the sixth time in their past seven games to drop to 6-13 overall and 3-11 in Jayhawk Conference play. Hutchinson remains perfect on the year at 18-0 and 14-0 in conference action.
Seward will look to snap their three game losing streak on Saturday night at home in the Greenhouse as they host the Butler Grizzlies in an 8:00 tip. Free tickets are available courtesy of our buyout sponsor Billy's at their Liberal location or at Hutch's in North Liberal.