By Bailey Terry
The Sports Arena was full of Blue Dragon men’s basketball fans as they faced off against the Moberly Greyhounds in the second round of the NJCAA Tournament on March 16.
The Dragons put on a show to beat the Greyhounds 84-74 to advance onto the quarterfinals, which puts their record to 30-4.
The leading scorer for the Hutch was Akbar Hoffman, Newark, New Jersey, with a career-high 29 points; he shot about 60 percent for the night.
Right behind Hoffman was Bashir Ahmed, Bronx, New York, with 22 points and 12 rebounds; he shot 85 percent from the foul line.
The Dragons out-rebounded their opponents 46-33, with about half from the offensive glass.
Multiple times, Moberly was able to cut Hutch’s lead to just five points, but every time that occurred, the Dragons would hit shots to continue to push their lead.
The Dragons started off the game with an 11-0 run before their opponents were able to score with 17 minutes remaining in the opening half.
Minutes later, the shot clock was ticking down and Hoffman hit one from beyond the arc.
The score was 20-7 with 13 minutes remaining.
Samajae Haynes-Jones, Wichita, hit a three to push the Dragons lead to 23-9 with 12 minutes to go in the first half.
Moberly went on a 14-5 run to pull within five, 28-23 with seven minutes left.
Hutch went into halftime with a 46-35 lead.
As the final half began, the Dragons took their largest lead of the game, 50-35.
Moberly countered Hutch and pulled within five, 55-50 with 15 minutes remaining.
With seven minutes remaining, the Dragons pushed their lead to 10 points and led by double digits for the rest of the game.
Hutch won the game 84-74.
The Dragons were scheduled to face defending national champs Northwest Florida State, who is also the No. 2 seed in the tournament, on Thursday, March 17, in the Sports Arena.
The game was set for 6 p.m.