by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
While not a home game, it’s the closest Kansas City Kansas Community College’s well-traveled men’s basketball team has been to home in the last 17 days as the Blue Devils play Saint Mary’s junior varsity at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Leavenworth.
It’s the fifth straight game on the road and ninth in 11 games for the Blue Devils, who are coming off a two-game split in the Mineral Area Classic in Park Hills, Missouri, Friday and Saturday.
After a down-to-the wire, come-from-behind 86-84 win over North Arkansas Friday, the Blue Devils ran into an NJCAA Division I powerhouse Saturday as unbeaten Mineral Area lived up to its ranking as the nation’s No. 9 team with a 90-67 win on its home court. It was the 12th straight win for the Cardinals, who are averaging 90 points a game.
Mineral Area scored the first nine points before a Jermaine Yarbough dunk got the Blue Devils on the board 6½ minutes into the game. The Cardinals widened their lead 20-6 in the first nine minutes and held a 40-18 halftime lead before the Blue Devils played the hosts almost even (50-49) in the second half.
Five players scored in double figures for the Cardinals, who converted 29-of-31 free throws for a sizzling 93.5 percent to 7-of-10 for KCKCC. Mineral Area was 28-of-61 for 45.9 percent from the field but only 5-of-25 from 3 point (.200).
“Give Mineral Area credit,” KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette said. “They took us out of everything from beginning to finish. That’s a very good basketball team with a lot of size, experience and very good guards.”
DeAngelo Bell, a 5-9 freshman guard from Harmon, led KCKCC with 13 points and four assists while Yarbough added 11 points, Jaemaal Newson 10, Tim Barbieri 7 and Calvin Slaughter 6. Robert Rhodes had six rebounds for KCKCC, which was out-rebounded 38-23.The Blue Devils shot 40 percent from the field (26-of-65) and .364 from 3-point (8-of-22).
The loss came 24 hours after KCKCC’s best 3-point shooting performance of the season in the 86-84 win over North Ark.
The Blue Devils were 14-of-28 from the perimeter in outscoring North Ark 21 points from 3-point. Jalen Davis and Derin McDaniel were each 4-for-8 and Ezekiel Lopes 3-for-4. Davis finished with a career high 31 points, netting 9-of-15 from the field and 9-of-10 free throws along with seven rebounds.
Robert Rhodes had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds while McDaniel finished with 14 points, Jones 10, Slaughter 6 and Yarbough and Cody Dortch 5 each.
The Blue Devils were 28-of-59 for 47.5 percent from the field while limiting North Ark to 29-of-73 for 39.7 percent.
The Blue Devils (2-8) finally get home Friday when they play host to Washburn junior varsity at 7 p.m. They are also home to Division I State Fair Tuesday, Dec. 10, and Southwestern (Iowa) Saturday, Dec. 14, before breaking for the holidays.