Full-strength Blazers roll

Photo by Matt Griffith/VU

Vincennes University's Chuka Mekkam drives on Shawnee's Jayvon Clark on Saturday at the P.E. Complex.

Mekkam keeps up scoring in win over Shawnee

It wasn't a straight route Saturday at the P.E. Complex, but the Vincennes University men's basketball team finished strongly to dump Region 24 foe Shawnee (Ill.), 80-53, for the school's 1,800th all-time win.

Chuka Mekkam, a pass-first point guard until this week, netted three 3-pointers and cleared 20 points for the second game in a row with 21. Kevin Osawe added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the top-ranked Trailblazers (15-2, 6-1 Region 24), who are expected to drop out of the top spot in the poll after Wednesday's 88-67 at Olney Central (Ill.).

A big reason why VU lost Wednesday was double-figure scorers Craig Porter and Colton Sandage were suspended and didn't play. They returned Saturday and combined for 20 points, with Porter adding 12 points to go with nine rebounds.

Reserve Kevin Kone nearly had a double-double with Osawe, collecting 10 points and nine rebounds.

Blazers coach Todd Franklin acknowledged the historical win.

"I was glad to be a part of it, and I'm glad to be a part of the history of this place, which I consider the best in junior college basketball and may be of all of basketball," Franklin said. "We played hard for the most part and in patches we lost concentration. We got some guys who got tired, but they haven't played a real game in nearly a month."

It wasn't a routine victory, with VU storming to a 41-19 halftime lead, only to see Shawnee (10-5, 4-3), get within 55-44 with 9:30 remaining. But Osawe hit a basket and a three-point play on the Blazers next two possessions and ended up taking the second half, 39-34.

Mekkam, who was coming off a career-high 25 at Olney, had 12 points in the opening half to fuel VU's fast getaway. The Blazers scored the game's first nine points and had leads of 22-5 and 35-12 before taking a 22-point bulge into the break.

"Our hope is that Chuka would build off of Wednesday. I don't think he had a turnover in the last two games, and as a point guard that's real important for us," Franklin said. "We've always had good guards, and Mekkam and Porter are developing into a good set of guards."

Tyreek Montgomery had 16 of his 20 points in the second half for the Saints. Rodney Houston added 10 points.

VU hosts Lake Land (Ill.) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

VINCENNES 80, SHAWNEE 53

MEN-SATURDAY

SHAWNEE

Profit (f) 0-3 1-2 1, Thompson (f) 0-3 1-2 1, Ward (c) 3-4 1-1 7, Clark (g) 1-4 3-4 6, Houston (g) 3-11 4-6 10, Harden 0-2 0-0 0, Montgomery 5-9 6-7 20, Lawary 1-2 0-0 2, Underwood 3-7 0-0 6, Franklin 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 16-47 16-22 53.

VINCENNES

Rogers (f) 0-1 0-0 0, Osawe (f) 4-13 7-9 16, Okanu (c) 2-5 0-0 4, Tucker (g) 2-2 0-0 5, Mekkam (g) 6-14 6-8 21, Sandage 3-9 0-0 8, Traylor 1-4 0-0 2, Ukomadu 0-0 0-0 0, Wells 0-0 2-2 2, Ilic 0-1 0-0 0, Kone 4-10 2-4 10. Totals: 25-63 22-30 80.

SCORE BY HALVES

Shawnee |19-34 — 53

Vincennes |41-39 — 80

3-pointers: Shawnee 5-11 (Montgomery 4-7, Clark 1-2, Profit 0-1, Houston 0-1). VU 8-24 (Mekkam 3-7, Sandage 2-8, Tucker 1-1, Porter 1-2, Osawe 1-3, Rogers 0-1, Traylor 0-2). Rebounds: Shawnee 21 (Houston 5), VU 42 (Osawe 12). Turnovers: Shawnee 19, VU 13. Fouls: Shawnee 24, VU 22. Fouled out: Thompson. Technical foul: Thompson, VU coach Todd Franklin, Sandage.

Lady Blazers add

to winning streak

Amani Brown scored a career-high 24 points and the Vincennes University women extended their winning streak to 14 with a 75-43 Region 24 victory over Shawnee on Saturday.

Jhala Henry contributed 16 points and Fess Hawkins 10 points and 14 rebounds for the honorable mention Trailblazers (17-3, 8-0 Region 24). It wasn't all good news, as starting guard Jaynice Stovall injured her ankle late in the second quarter and the team's second-leading scorer (16.3 points per game) didn't return. VU coach Harry Meeks said he didn't know how long the sophomore is going to be out.

The rugged game had 44 fouls and 56 free throws. VU's defense limited the Saints (7-6, 2-4) to 24 percent shooting (13-55), and three field goals in the second half.

Sharisa Kimble was Shawnee's only double-figure scorer with 12.

"We gave up some points on drives in the first half, but we got that squared away with about 6-7 minutes in the first half," Blazers coach Harry Meeks said. "(At halftime) I wanted to see how well they shot from outside, so we mixed a zone and man and that helped us."

Brown hit 9-of-15 shots in clearing 20 points for the fifth time this season.

"Amani is just a heady player. She knows all of our offenses, all of our defenses and she's controls the ball," he said. "We're not the same team when she's not on the floor."

VU erased its only deficit, 6-4, with a 10-2 run. Brown's 3-pointer started the spurt, and a Hawkins free throw gave the Blazers a 16-8 advantage. It was 22-12 after one quarter, and two Stovall free throws gave VU its first 20-point lead at 38-18. The Blazers led 41-25 at halftime and 58-36 after three quarters.

The victory completed a 3-0 week in a span of five days. The Blazers are off until Jan. 22 when they host Kaskaskia at 5 p.m.

VINCENNES 75, SHAWNEE 43

WOMEN-SATURDAY

SHAWNEE

Jeter (f) 0-2 1-4 1, Rose (f) 1-4 0-0 2, Daley (c) 1-3 5-6 7, Oldham (g) 1-7 2-2 4, Kimble (g) 5-12 1-2 12, Tucker 1-2 2-4 4, Daley 0-0 0-0 0, Winkfield 0-1 0-0 0, Phillips 0-1 2-2 2, Holladay 1-5 0-0 3, Box 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 0-5 1-2 1, Benton 3-12 1-3 7. Totals: 13-55 15-25 43.

VINCENNES

Hawkins (f) 3-7 3-6 10, Henry (f) 6-18 1-7 16, Chamorro (g) 1-6 0-0 2, Stovall (g) 1-4 6-6 8, Brown (g) 9-15 5-7 24, Thompson 0-4 2-2 2, Garcia 1-4 0-0 2, Michels 0-1 0-0 0, Bluma 0-1 0-2 0, Yocum 4-4 1-1 9, Ndour 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 26-66 18-31 75.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Shawnee |12-13-11-7 — 43

Vincennes |22-19-17-17 — 75

3-pointers: Shawnee 2-14 (Kimble 1-2, Holladay 1-5, Box 0-1, Jones 0-1, Tucker 0-1, Benton 0-2, Oldham 0-2), VU 5-15 (Henry 3-7, Hawkins 1-2, Brown 1-3, Chamorro 0-1, Thompson 0-1, Bluma 0-1). Rebounds: Shawnee 35 (Daley 6), VU 42 (Hawkins 14). Turnovers: Shawnee 28, VU 16. Fouls: Shawnee 23, VU 21. Fouled out: Benton.

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.