The showdown between Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Pearl River Community College was decided by defense and free-throw shooting.
Tedrian Brisco scored 18 points as the Bulldogs prevailed 73-70 before a packed house at the Weathers-Wentzell Center on Thursday night.
The Bulldogs (13-2, 5-1 South Division) survived a last-second PRCC rally to hang on. Rodney Mallett missed a short jumper with eight seconds left, which would’ve given PRCC the lead.
Brisco’s two free throws gave the Bulldogs a 73-70 lead with 4.2 seconds left. PRCC was unable to get off a game-tying 3-pointer in the end, thanks to Gulf Coast’s defensive pressure.
“I was thinking I had to make the free throws with the game on the line,” Brisco said. “I couldn’t let my teammates, coaches and school down. This game’s another stepping stone where we need to be.”
Despite his team blowing a 16-point first-half lead, Gulf Coast coach Wendell Weathers was pleased with the Bulldogs coming through at the end.
“We did what we had to do,” Weathers said. “During the week and halftime, I told the players it would come down to defense and rebounding. Our defense was good in the last four minutes.”
Davion Cole-Johnson added 17 points for the Bulldogs and Winston Morgan had 14.
Gulf Coast jumped out to a 25-14 lead as Brisco (six points), Cole-Johnson (seven points), Morgan (five points) and Stacee St. Julian (four points) accounted for all of the Bulldogs’ scoring.
The Wildcats (10-5, 2-4) got within 25-19, but Gulf Coast reeled off nine straight points for a 34-24 lead. Zach Parker’s 3-pointer ignited the run.
PRCC closed the first half with a 9-0 run, getting within 44-37 at halftime. Branden Shepperd had six of the Wildcats’ points in that stretch. He had 12 at halftime and finished with 18.
Jamani Glover added 14 points for the Wildcats and Ryan McRaney scored 11.
PRCC went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 50-50 with 15 minutes left. Jerrod Rigby and Cameron Douglas both hit treys during the run for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats tied the game again, this time at 62-62 with seven minutes left on McRaney’s trey.
Gulf Coast outscored PRCC 8-2 to take the lead for good at 70-64. Morgan hit a pair of treys in the run.
MGCCC women 51, PRCC 49: Jordana Jolley hit three free throws in the final eight seconds as the Lady Bulldogs (7-8, 2-5) overcame a 16-point second-half deficit.
The Lady Wildcats (8-5, 1-5) went scoreless over the last three minutes.
Charisma Walker scored 15 points to lead the Lady Wildcats, who led 28-16 at halftime. She had 12 in the first half.
Keiara Williams led the Lady Bulldogs with 10 points. The Lady Bulldogs closed the third quarter with a 15-7 spurt, getting within 41-33 going into the fourth.