Great Bend, KS -- The #7 nationally ranked Hutchinson Blue Dragons entered their game against Iowa Western with a perfect 6-0 record and winning margins of 21, 20, 28, 46, 20, and 23 points; not even having less than a double digit halftime lead in any of those contests. Iowa Western; playing their second NJCAA Top Ten team in just a week (having beaten #9 Moberly the previous Saturday), looked to challenge Hutchinson into a battle; to see if they could respond to some "game pressure'. Both teams responded, as the Reivers challenged the Blue Dragons for the first time all season; Hutchinson then proved its mantle, pushing past the Reivers in the game's final 10 minutes. And while the final score fit into the previous six margins of victory for Hutchinson at 91-70; unlike the previous Hutchinson wins, it was not indicative of the competitive nature of this contest.
Iowa Western and Hutchinson played a back and forth affair the entire first half, with neither team leading by more that 7 points. The Reivers made 7 first half three point shots; including 3 made from behind the arch from Jalen Dalcourt, to match the Blue Dragons strong inside play; and when Josiah Strong stole a ball at half court and finished at the other end inside a minute to play, the Reivers took a two point lead into the locker room at the half 40-38; marking the first halftime deficit for Hutchinson of the season.
Iowa Western opened up the second half with a basket to extend their lead to two possessions 42-38, and both teams then locked in for the next several minutes. With 11:25 to go the Blue Dragon advantage grew to 6 points, when the 7th ranked team in the country went to work, proving they have a top ten quality team. The Blue Dragons went on a 17-6 run, and led by 17 points with 4:38 to play. The Reivers would get no closer then 11 points the remainder of the contest. The game's margin of victory of 21 points was the Blue Dragon's largest of the entire game, as Hutchinson scored the games final 4 points.
Up next for the Reivers is a return trip to Kansas, as they will face off against Bulter in El Dorado, KS this Tuesday (11/19) evening. Iowa Western came back from trailing Butler by 17 points two weeks ago (11/5) at Reiver Arena to beat the Grizzlies 79-73 in the series first contest. Tip time between the Reivers and Grizzlies is slated for 7:30pm.