MCCC Men's Basketball Team Advances to Nationals


West Windsor, N.J. - Mercer County Community College's men's basketball team has had a post-season dream run, one that will continue all the way to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Tournament in Danville, IL, March 16-20. Under the leadership of second-year head coach Howard Levy, the Vikings posted an upset win over top-seeded Lackawanna Junior College in the Region 19 final by a score of 79-69 on Lackawanna's home court March 2.

Coach Howard Levy with team members earlier in season

The two teams had split during the regular season, with MCCC beating Lackawanna on January 28 after a loss in November. Since that January win, the Vikings have gone on to win 10 of their last 11 games. This is Mercer's first Region 19 title since 1998, the last season the Vikings played at the national tournament, under then-head coach Bud Livingston.

The regional final was a full team effort. Sophomore guard Uros Kovacevic scored 29 points, while forward Paco Boussougou added 14 points and 11 rebounds. Forward Isaiah Andrews and guard Quentin Loftin each added 13 points in the win. Kovacevic earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors.

Mercer (20-12) entered the regional tournament as the third seed. The Vikings reached the final after wins over Essex County College, 70-64, in the quarterfinals on Feb. 23, and Delaware Tech-Stanton, 76-68, in the semifinals on Feb. 28.

According to Coach Levy, the Vikings have come together in the last few weeks. "Players have put selflessness above everything else. They have really banded together. They have adopted as their own the unselfish way of playing that we have talked about all season," he said.

Levy notes that approaching the tournament, he was confident in what he could expect from the team. "I felt they were prepared and I had a good idea of what I would get on the court and what the product was going to be."

Levy adds that his players are thrilled to be going to the NJCAA tournament. Reflecting on his own tournament experience as a player for Princeton University in the 1980s, Levy said, "Going to a national tournament is a special experience, one that you will remember for your whole life. But I want to resist being satisfied with that. We want to win the whole thing.

"As a coach, you are never satisfied. You always want your team to keep on striving to get better," he said.

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