In a back-and-forth battle that included 13 ties and nine lead changes, the Seward County Community College menís basketball team lost to Hutchinson Community College, 80-76, on Saturday night at the Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kan. The Blue Dragons won their conference-opener while shooting 50 percent from the field (25-for-50) and attempting 19 more free throws than the Saints. Seward County had three players foul out of the game and three players that finished with four personal fouls. Bobby Maze had a standout performance for Hutch leading all players with 21 points, nine assists and collecting eight rebounds. The Saints fall to 13-3 overall and to 1-1 in conference. Hutchinson improves to 11-4 overall and to 1-0 in the Jayhawk West.

Neither team led by more than three points until Saintsí sophomore Darko Cohadarevic made a field goal with 6:50 left in the first half to give Seward County a 24-20 advantage. Seward County led the remainder of the half until Maze dished off to sophomore Henry Rogers for a dunk just before halftime. The 36-36 tie at halftime marked the fifth tie of the first period.

Seward shot an impressive 7-of-12 from 3-point range in the first half (58 percent) while Hutchinson hit a consistent 50 percent from the field (13-of-26). Maze was effective in the first half tallying 11 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Seward County point guard Reggie Chamberlain had eight points and seven assists at halftime.

After Hutch made the first field goal of the second half, Seward County held the lead until the 6:42 mark when the Blue Dragons grabbed the lead as Saintsí sophomores Bryson Hampton and Ervin Williams both fouled out of the game in a 26 second time span.

The Saints were able to even the score, 69-69, after a free throw from Chamberlain with 4:03 left in regulation. Moments later, Chamberlain collected his fifth personal foul with the score still tied at 69. Hutchinson went on to post their largest lead (78-70) in the final minutes en route to a victory in their conference opener.

Seward County sophomore Darko Cohadarevic collected his third straight double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Nick Burns scored in double figures for the 11th time this season and 22nd time during his career (18 points, four rebounds).

Maze, a transfer from the University of Oklahoma, recorded his sixth game with at least nine assists. Hutchinson sophomore Ken Bowman tallied his eighth double-double of the season (17 points, 11 rebounds), and Antonio Weary scored in double-figures for the ninth time this season (18 points, seven rebounds).

The Saints and Blue Dragons each recorded 25 field goals in the game. The difference was Hutchinson finished the game shooting 27-of-43 from the free throw line, marking the most free throws made and free throws attempted against the Saints this season.

Seward County will be back at the Green House on Saturday, Jan. 12, hosting defending Region VI Tournament runner-up Barton County Community College (12-2, 0-1) for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.