PARK HILLS – The unbeaten Mineral Area men’s basketball team soared to No. 8 when the latest NJCAA national rankings were released earlier this week.
The Cardinals rediscovered their potent offense on Wednesday night following a minor hiccup in their previous game, and eased past Lincoln College 93-67 at home.
Point guard Shawn Roundtree totaled a game-high 16 points plus six rebounds, and was the catalyst for numerous positive plays as Mineral Area quickly amassed a big lead.
The sophomore transfer from Missouri State dished out six assists before halftime, and the Cardinals established a 48-24 advantage at the break.
Djibril Diallo powered his way through contact to score on multiple occasions, and finished with 15 points off the bench for Mineral Area (13-0).
Devin Thomas had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Lamar Morgan threw down a final dunk for 12 points overall. Zac Cuthbertson, Darius Thompson and Justin Storey added nine each.
The Cardinals injected plenty of energy at the defensive end from the start, even at the risk of piling up some early fouls. But that strategy also yielded chances to attack in transition.
Roundtree dished to Thomas inside after knocking down a 3-pointer, and Diallo finished a baseline drive after taking an outlet pass from Thompson to establish a 20-4 lead.
Crisp passing continued as the Cardinals remained comfortably ahead. Thompson drained three open triples during the first half, and Cuthbertson connected from the left corner for a 38-16 margin.
Lincoln College (7-4) suffered 12 turnovers in the opening stanza, and finally settled in as freshman Simpkins drained two perimeter shots off broken pressure.
But Mineral Area displayed the depth that has stamped its excellent start to the season. Mark Laros sank a short turn-around from the post before Storey tipped in a rebound moments later.
Diallo completed a 3-point play for the final points ahead of intermission, and Thomas highlighted a strong showing by the Cardinals early in the second half.
He finished a nifty pass from Cuthbertson, then knocked down a 3-pointer after keeping an offensive rebound alive amid three Lynx for a 56-26 spread.
Roundtree rejoined the scoring carousel from long range at 78-48. The Cardinals converted 15-of-25 free throws, and will host Kankakee on Saturday night.
Justin Parker and Trayvon Tyler notched 13 points each for Lincoln, which was held 16 points below its season average. Ryan Hill tallied nine exclusively in the second half.