NPC Classic favorite Mineral Area College survives seven technical fouls to edge Nighthawks

Mineral Area College
SAU Tech's 7-4 Great Nwachukwu (50) of Anambra, Nigeria, hands a rebound to teammate Donovan Vickers during Friday's game in the National Park College Classic.


HOT SPRINGS, Ar. — Nationally ranked Mineral Area College (Park Hills, Mo.) survived seven technical fouls Friday night to beat the host Nighthawks, 87-80, in the National Park College Classic.

Ranked No. 14 in Division I of the NJCAA, MAC (12-3) was on cruise control with a 74-54 lead, and only 6:40 left to play. That’s when the Cardinals’ 6-10 Kenan Sarvan got the first of five technicals. Before play resumed MAC’s head coach (Luke Strege) and a player (Gavin Harris) were ejected after four more technical fouls were called.

Mineral Area College
NPC’s Sayvon Traylor was 16-for-16 from the charity stripe.

National Park College’s Sayvon Traylor then turned what appeared to be a rout in the making, into a possible major upset. Traylor swished 10 straight free throws, finishing the game with a 16-for-16 effort from the charity stripe and game-high 28 points. Three-pointers by Jaylen O’Conner and Rodrique Massenat had MAC’s lead down to one point with 1:24 remaining.

“That was a crazy ordeal, I don’t really know what they (officials) got them for,” said NPC coach Dillon Hargrove. “All I know is that they (Mineral Area College) are a really good team. They absolutely locked us up on the defensive end. I don’t know how many turnovers we had, but it was somewhere around 25.”

Mineral Area College impressive on defense

One of many, many turnovers prevented the NJCAA Division II Nighthawks of an opportunity to claim the lead.

MAC’s 6-5 Keonte Jones scored 19 of his team-high 24 points in the second half, and Sarvan’s fourth 3-pointer in the final seconds put the game out of reach — barring five more technical fouls on the Cardinals. Jamir Price scored 18 points for the winners, and Sarvan contributed 15.

The Nighthawks slipped to 9-4 with the loss. Three other NPC players scored in double figures. JaQuarius Valrie tallied 14, with Massenat and Kam Vick contributing 13 and 10 points, respectively.

“The thing about our team is that we play hard,” said Hargrove. “We go for those second chance points. Still, we’ve got to get a lot better offensively, and that starts with me.”

NPC’ only lead came on the first two points of the game.

Mineral Area College

SAU Tech sinks 15 3-pointers

In Friday’s first game Southern Arkansas University Tech routed Lang Prep Academy (Springdale, Ar.), 100-55. SAU Tech is one of the tallest college basketball teams in the nation with players that stand 7-4, 7-0, and 6-10.

Donovan Vickers led the Rockets with 18 points, including four of the team’s 15 3-pointers. Tech is 6-7 on the year.

Saturday’s action is scheduled to tip off at 2 p.m. with Mineral Area College playing SAU Tech. The Nighthawks play Lang Prep Academy at 4 p.m.