HOT SPRINGS, Ar. — National Park College’s hot shooting saved the Nighthawks from an embarrassing loss to Lang Prep Academy Saturday afternoon at “The Kettle.”
The Nighthawks (10-4) overcame a spectacular shooting performance by Lang’s Mustafa Rashid to beat the Cardinals, 106-82. The 5-10 Rashid, a native of Manama, Bahrain, led all players with 30 points, including six 3-pointers. Two of Rashid’s treys were closer to half court than the three-point line.
Rashid scores 30 for Lang Prep
“We put everything into Friday’s game with Mineral Area, and then playing less than twelve hours later is tough to do,” said NPC coach Dillon Hargrove. “Lang had one really good player (Rashid), and we came out with no energy, and wasn’t trying to guard anyone. We were lucky that we shot it well. I was pleased with the play of some guys who came off the bench.”
Lang was also handicapped by the fact it only had six players in uniform. Armand Buckhanan of Pine Bluff, Ar., scored 20 for the Cardinals. Malik Smith and Cam’ron Hunter contributed 16 and 15 points, respectively.
NPC led by 13 early in the game, only to see Lang rally within four points. The Nighthawks led 51-44 at halftime, and took command with 10 minutes left on a 15-0 run. Six players combined for 13 treys. JoQuarius Valrie buried three on the long range shots, and finished with a team-high 25 points. Jaylen O’Conner of Oklahoma City contributed 18 points and three treys. New Jersey native Rodrique Massenat scored 16 points with three 3-pointers. Kylil Anderson of Fort Worth tallied 13 points with one 3-pointer.
Saturday’s opener arguably featured the two best teams in the National Park College Classic.
Rockets suffer tough loss to MAC
Southern Arkansas Tech (7-8) had the tallest team, and converted 28 3-pointers in the event. Thirteen of those treys came Saturday, but it wasn’t enough as nationally-ranked Mineral Area College rallied from double-digit deficits twice to beat the Rockets, 79-73. MAC is 13-4 on the season.
The Cardinals played Saturday’s game without head coach Luke Strege, who was ejected during Friday’s 87-80 win over NPC. Associate Head Coach Tim Walsh to Strege’s place. Walsh was pleased with the win, and had a lot of good things to say about the Division II Rockets.
“They (SAU Tech) made eleven treys in the first half, which is obviously outstanding,” said Walsh. “We knew they had some quality wins against other Division I teams. They beat the defending national champions (Coffeyville, Kan.) on their court earlier this season. Defensively, we played a lot better in the second half. Our defense was able to take away some shots, and that was the key for us. I told the Tech players after the game they could make a run at the Division II championship. They could probably make a run in Division I.”
Keonte Jones of Madison, Wi., led the winners with 14 points. Brett Thompson of Oakland, Ca., and Jamir Price of Rock Island, Il., contributed 13 points each. Manu Musemena of Liege, Belgium, added 11 points for MAC.