PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast avenged its only loss of the young season Monday, beating Baton Rogue 84-66 on the first day of the MGCCC Thanksgiving Classic.
The Bulldogs (4-1) did so primarily by flipping the script.
"We got beat primarily because we took bad shots on our offense," Gulf Coast coach Wendell Weathers said. "We didn't really execute our offense and they beat our brains out down the floor."
The Bulldogs return to action Tuesday, playing Southern University-Shreveport (6-4) at 1:45. Baton Rouge (5-2) plays Faulkner State (5-2) at noon.
Zach Parker (6-2, 185, So., Biloxi/Biloxi) had 23 points to lead Gulf Coast over Baton Rouge.
"Zach's a really good shooter when he takes good shots," Weathers said. "I tell him, 'You've got to quit trying to find your shot. You have to let our offense find your shot.' When he does, he's pretty darned good."
Winston Morgan (5-10, 170, So., East Catholic/Manchester, Conn.) added 15, with Davion Cole-Johnson (6-4, 210, So., Pike/Glen Ellyn, Ill.) scoring all 13 of his points in the second half. Jaylen Peters (6-3, 194, Fr., Pass Christian/Pass Christian) chipped in 11.
Weathers wanted his team to execute the offense better and force the Bears to play five-on-five. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first four minutes, but needed a 3-pointer by Harvey Smart (6-3, 167, So., West Harrison/Gulfport) just before the halftime buzzer to lead 36-34.
Gulf Coast slowly expanded the bulge in the second half, leading 59-44 less than nine minutes in. The Bulldog would lead by as many as 26 down the stretch.
"WE just had to run our defense, and stop being selfish, playing our own way," Parker said. "We just wanted to play five-on-five with those guys."
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