KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Kansas City Kansas Community College landed a haymaker of epic proportions Wednesday night, stunning Coffeyville 61-57 at Coffeyville.
Off to a 16-2 start, Coffeyville had just moved up to No. 13 in the Division I national rankings Wednesday while the Blue Devils (12-6) were coming off two difficult losses and were playing their third game in five days.
A Jayhawk dynasty under Coach Jay Herkelman, the Red Ravens came into this season with 11 Jayhawk East championships in the last 14 years and seven national tournament appearances.
However, while you could probably count KCKCC wins over Coffeyville (home or away) on one hand, it was the Blue Devils who led most of the way in pulling the Jayhawk’s biggest upset of the season.
After two ties and nine lead changes, the Blue Devils (12-6) grabbed the lead midway through the first half, opened a 31-27 halftime lead and stretched it to 37-27 to start the second half and never trailed the rest of the way behind sizzling shooting.
Efficiently effective the first half with 13 of 30 for 43.3 percent, the Blue Devils took just 19 second half shot, made 13 for 68.4 percent and the final gap might have been wider had not the Blue Devils converted just 3-of-9 second half free throws.
“We showed a lot of poise and patience to get high quality shots the second half,” said KCKCC Coach Kelley Newton. “We only took two three-pointers the second half and made one so most of our shots were mid-range or towards the basket. LaShawn Lewis hit two jump shots at the free throw line in the second half that were big.”
Babajide Aina, the 6-2 sophomore transfer from Prairie View A&M, again led the way with a double double – 17 points and 10 rebounds while sharing the assist lead with CJ Vallejo with four. Austin Hall, the 6-5 freshman forward from Aurora, Colo., added 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and Lansing frosh Joe Lendway 11 points on 5-of-7.
Lendway also had seven rebounds and Hall four as the Blue Devils dominated the rebounding, allowing only six offensive rebounds in winning the board battle 35-24. Another frosh, LaShawn Lewis, added eight points and three rebounds while Ray Ridley had three assists.
“We did a good job in keeping them to just one shot,” said Newton. “They are really big so that was a credit to the kids. They locked into their goals and executed. This is a great, great program win for us, bigger than winning at Iowa Western because of the conference and how hard it’s always been to win at Coffeyville.”
Defensively, Coffeyville was held to 37 percent shooting both halves but the Red Ravens stayed in contention with 13-of-16 free throws.
The Blue Devils now return to Division II play Saturday when they host Highland, the division leader at 2-0 although just 9-9 overall.