The hype surrounding Wednesday night's battle for the top spot in the Jayhawk never lived up to its billing as the No. 10 ranked Barton Community College men's basketball team trailed pretty much all night at the Barton Gym being handed an 85-72 loss to No. 14 ranked Hutchinson Community College. The result put the race for the conference title into a three-way log jam at 18-4 as both teams now also have a 22-4 mark on the season in being joined by Coffeyville amongst the top spot. The Cougars will play its next two games on the road beginning Saturday in an 8:00 p.m. tip at Cloud County Community College (4-18, 6-19).
Typical of Barton home games, the Cougars started off cold from the field missing its first eight shots but trailing just 7-0 before Akeem White's tip-in cracked the goose egg at the 16:19 mark. Within a minute later Barton would dig out from the hole as White converted an And-1 with a Keshon Montague three pointer tied it at 8-all. Kawanise Wilkins' trey with 14:00 on the clock tied it up again at eleven but it would be as close as the Cougars would be the rest of the night as Hutchinson would methodically build a seven point 41-34 lead to the break.
The deficit doubled in the first 3-plus minutes of the second frame with Hutchinson grabbing the first eight points for a double digit. Despite every momentum shifting play the Cougars could provide, Hutchinson answered each call in holding Barton to no more than a six point run in the final seventeen minutes of play.
Wilkins' twelfth double-double of the year lead Barton with twenty-two points and fourteen rebounds. Montague dished out six assists to go along with sixteen points while Elijah Ford and Marvin Cannon each finished with ten.
A career high twenty-two points from James Rojas off the bench led just three Blue Dragons in double figures. Devonte Bandoo dropped in nineteen behind 3-of-5 from beyond the arc while distributing six assists with Robert Whitfield contributing sixteen. Kai Mitchell grabbed a team high eleven rebounds to help lead Hutchinson to a fifteen rebound edge.