Top point guard awaits SCC in first Region XI road game

When the Southeastern Community College men’s basketball team faces Northeast (Neb.) tonight in its first Region XI road game of the season, the Blackhawks won’t necessarily mind one of the opposing players doing what he does more productively — passing the basketball — than almost any other player in the country.

Northeast sophomore guard Jalen Mobley is averaging 7.1 assists per game. Only six players in Division I average more.

His ability to put the ball in the hoop concerns SCC as much as his ability to put the ball in the hands of his teammates.

“People forget he scores it, too,” SCC coach Lorenzo Watkins said. “I’m more worried about his physicality getting into the lane and getting easy buckets for them.

“I’m actually OK with him passing it to certain guys and just hoping they don’t make shots. When he gets to where he’s offensive minded, I think that’s when they’re real good.”

Mobley, who is averaging 12.2 points per game, scored a career-high 29 points Saturday at Indian Hills. He made 10 of his 21 shots from the floor and went 9-for-12 from the free throw line.

Watkins named three different Blackhawks — guards Chris Myers, Patrick Jackson and Rayford Albright — who will take turns guarding Mobley.

Based on the game film he’s watched, Watkins said he thinks Mobley’s played a different role and as more of a distributor this season for Northeast than he did as a freshman. His 3.9 assist-to-turnover ratio is fifth in the country.

“We just have to contain him,” Watkins said. “I think if we keep our pressure on him bringing it up the floor and sustain it, control him penetration-wise, don’t give him angles to the basket, we’ll be fine. We’ve just got to make him shoot jump shots over the top.”

Both teams’ point guards, Mobley and Myers, are impact players. Myers has been spectacular for the Blackhawks since the start of the second half of the season. He, too, is coming off a career-high scoring effort — he had 24 points Saturday against Marshalltown — and he’s led SCC in scoring in three of the four games since the winter break. In the lone game he didn’t, he made the game-winning basket in overtime against John Wood.

Myers, though, doesn’t view the game as a chance for himself to face one of the best.

“Every game we go into the game with the same mentality. We want to stop every player, whether they’re a top player, have a top stat line in the country or not,” Myers said. “As far as the accolades, I don’t really pay attention to that stuff. They have to lace their shoes up just like we do. That’s the least I’m worried about, what they can do. I know what we can do individually and as a team and we’re going to be all right.”

SCC spent most of its practice Monday working on its defense. Northeast averages 99.1 points per game. Like the Blackhawks’ last opponent, Northeast is also a strong offensive rebounding team, collecting almost 14 of its own missed shots per game.

SCC struggled on the glass, particularly in the first half, against Marshalltown. That area of play was a point of emphasis during the team’s film session Monday, Watkins said.

“I think (our players) didn’t realize it was that bad until they saw it,” Watkins said. “I want to see … how our guys are going to react after, I call it, giving a game away the other night (against Marshalltown) and now coming back and playing a similarly tough team, an offensive rebounding team.

“It’s going to be a huge road test for us.”