Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blue Devils get another big win at Independence, 62-59


KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Long a disaster for Kansas City Kansas Community College men’s basketball teams, the road has suddenly brought out the best in 2014-15 Blue Devils.

Leading virtually from start to finish, the Blue Devils took a 62-59 win Wednesday at Independence, a court that has doomed many KCKCC teams in the past.

It was the Blue Devils’ third win over a Division I team, adding the Pirates to the list of Iowa Western and Coffeyville and all have been on the road.

Deadly shooting led by freshman Dehven Talley led the Blue Devils to their 13th win in 20 starts.  A 6-2 guard from SM Northwest, Talley drained 5 of 6 shots including 4 of 5 from 3-point range in a career best 16-point performance that led all scorers.

That led to one of the best shooting performances of the season by the Blue Devils, who finished the game with 20-of-38 for 52.6 percent including 9-of-16 for 56.3 percent in the second half. The Blue Devils were equally effective from 3-point range when they netted 9-of-17 for 52.9 percent.

“Dehven Talley had a breakout game and I hope it snowballs,” said KCKCC Coach Kelley Newton. “You could see with every shot he got more confidence and we needed every bit. We’ve been doing a much better job of concentrating on getting much better shots which in turn has helped on the defensive end.”

Newton was particularly proud of the Blue Devil defense. “The last three games we’ve held Coffeyville to 57 points, Highland to 55 and Indy to 59 so we’re doing a good job defensively. Anytime you win on the road in this league is awesome.”

Five other Blue Devils scored eight or more points in one of the best balanced efforts of the season. Ray Ridley and Joe Lendway had 10 points apiece while CJ Vallejo, Babajide Aina and Austin Hall added eight points each.

Both Ridley and Vallejo were 2-of-4 from 3-point. Ridley also contributed five assists and Aina four while Vallejo led rebounding with eight as KCKCC battled the Pirates to a 26-26 draw on the boards.

Indy led only once at 2-0 as the Blue Devils opened a 36-29 halftime lead, widened it to 11 and then held off a furious Indy rally despite not scoring a field goal in the final 2:45. “Indy got to within one point with less than a minute left but Ray Ridley hit two free throws to hold them off,” said Newton as the Blue Devils rebuilt their lead to five.

The Blue Devils return home Saturday to host Neosho County in the second half of a 2-4 p.m. Jayhawk Conference doubleheader. It will be the second meeting of the two teams.

They first met in the Dodge City Classic. Neosho (12-9) posted an 88-67 win only to forfeit because of the use of an ineligible player.