HARRISBURG, Ill. – Angelo Stuart continued his stellar shooting early in the season, and the Mineral Area men’s basketball team dominated its road debut on Saturday afternoon.
The freshman guard from East Stroudsburg, Pa. netted a game-high 25 points, and paced the Cardinals for the third consecutive game in a 90-57 rout of SE Illinois.
Mineral Area (4-0) opened the contest on a 12-2 run, capped by a third field goal from sophomore Gabe O’Neal on a putback, and shredded the Falcons by attacking in transition.
O’Neal finished with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and claimed six rebounds while 6-foot-9 post Malevy Leons notched a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four steals.
Kevin Legardy, who added 14 points off the MAC bench, scored on an entry feed from Jake McKinlay and drained a transition 3-pointer after SE Illinois had drawn to within 17-12.
Stuart hit a fast-break layup and open triple on consecutive possessions, and driving layups by Terrion Murdix and Kayyaun Batchman highlighted a 10-0 spurt that created a 49-20 margin.
MyQuion Garrett scored 17 points to lead SE Illinois (0-2), which entered a rebuilding phase under new coaches after going 3-27 last season.
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Garrett sank two quick 3-pointers late in the first half, but made just 9-of-18 free throws while drawing fouls against the Cardinals with consistency.
Mineral Area easily protected its 52-27 halftime lead despite yielding an 11-0 run to the opposition. O’Neal had pushed the advantage to 60-29 with two more baskets along the low block.
Emanual Cross, Jr. drilled a couple of long jumpers as the Falcons got within 65-46, but the home team could not adjust once MAC chose to apply greater pressure and increase the tempo.
Stuart sank his third and fourth triples of the game, and provided a subsequent steal and layup while ending 10-of-15 from the field. He also contributed four assists and four steals.
Leons broke ahead on an outlet pass for a dunk after a previous transition layup from Legardy, and O’Neal made it 86-48 with his final shot.
Murdix totaled seven assists, and Tristian Mullins dished out five more for the Cardinals, who made 15 steals while committing just 12 turnovers.
Mineral Area will travel to SW Illinois for a rematch on Tuesday after defeating the Blue Storm 88-67 last Wednesday.