While posting its longest conference winning streak in 10 years, the Seward County Community College menís basketball team moved into first-place in the Jayhawk West Conference with a 79-66 victory over Hutchinson Community College on Wednesday night at the Green House in Liberal. Sophomore Darko Cohadarevic scored a game-high 27 points with five 3-pointers and seven rebounds to lead the Saints in their sixth straight Jayhawk West victory. Hutchinson, who entered the evening in sole possession of first-place, has now lost back-to-back games for the first time this season and falls to 17-6 overall and to 7-2 in league play. The Saints (20-4, 8-2) current streak is the longest in the programís history since a 10-game span during the 1997-98 season.

First year head coach Bryan Zollinger has now led the Saints to 20 victories. It is the 11th 20-win season in 39 year history of Seward County menís basketball.

The Saints and Blue Dragons went into halftime with Hutchinson holding a four-point lead, 35-31. Hutch shot 48 percent in the first half, and was aided by 6-of-11 shooting from three-point territory. Seward County, meanwhile, was led at the break by Cohadarevic and Burns who each had nine points.

Early in the second half the momentum changed quickly as Hutchinson sophomore Ken Bowman and Blue Dragon head coach Ryan Swanson were both issued technical fouls within 15 seconds of each other. The Saints, who at the time were trailing 37-39, took advantage of the technical fouls as Reggie Chamberlain made 4-of-4 free throws, and Ervin Williams made a field goal to give the Saints a 43-39 lead.

The Saints never trailed the remainder of the game. Hutchinson was able to cut the lead to two points just minutes before Seward County stretched its lead to as many as 16 points (74-58) with 2:27 left in the game. Chamberlain scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half, which included 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.

Cohadarevic took over the game in the second half shooting 7-of-9 from the field and connecting on four 3-pointers in the final period. Cohadarevic finished with five 3-pointers. The Saints shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half, including 64 percent (7-of-11) from 3-point range.

Seward County, who is 12th in the NJCAA in 3-point field goals, records its eighth game this season with at least 10 three-pointers. Nick Burns also finished in double-figure scoring with 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal. It was Burnsí 25th career double-figure scoring game.

The Saints held Hutchinson to its third lowest point total of the season (66), and the Blue Dragonís 33 rebounds tied a season low.

Hutchinson was led in scoring by point guard Bobby Maze (16 points, six assists, four rebounds), who entered Wednesday averaging 20.6 points per game. In the Blue Dragonís two straight losses Maze is averaging just 14.5 ppg. Bowman added 14 points and seven rebounds while Lamar Falley finished with 11 points and three assists.

Seward County will go on the road on Wednesday, Feb. 13, to take on Barton County Community College (16-7, 4-6), who was the last opponent to defeat the Saints back on Jan. 12 (81-57). Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Barton County Gym in Great Bend, Kan.

GAME NOTES:
Zollinger has now won 20 games for the second time in his career. He led College of Eastern Utah to a 20-12 season in 2001-2002. The Saints have now shot at least 79 percent from the free throw line in six of their last seven games. During the Saints current winning streak, they are averaging 82 points per game, shooting 52 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range, 81 percent from the free throw line and are averaging just over 11 turnovers per contest.