Mississippi Gulf Coast rallied from a halftime deficit and used late-game trickery to defeat archrival Pearl River 74-69 on Monday in Poplarville.
Winston Morgan (5-10, 170, So., East Catholic/Manchester, Conn.) scored 21 to lead the Bulldogs, who completed a season sweep for the second year in a row over the Wildcats. Tedrian Brisco (6-5, 195, So., Porter's Chapel/Vicksburg) added 17 points.
Gulf Coast improves to 17-5 overall, 9-4 in the MACJC South. The Bulldogs are now in sole possession of third in the division and can clinch that spot Thursday during Sophomore Night against Southwest at the Weathers/Wentzell Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Pearl River (13-9, 5-8) has been eliminated from MACJC Tournament contention, but was still battling for a spot in the Region 23 event. The Wildcats led Gulf Coast 36-30 at halftime.
"We had kind of a heart-to-heart at halftime," Gulf Coast coach Wendell Weathers said. "We came out the second half and ran our stuff and did a lot better. We guarded and rebounded. At the end of the day we were able to hold on and make free throws down the stretch."
The Bulldogs, who led by 10 early, retook the lead midway through the second half. They were nursing a two-point lead with 11.5 seconds left, when Weathers went to his bag of tricks.
"I knew they were going to chase the ball, but I didn't know they were going to chase it out of bounds," Weathers said. "The kid from Pearl River was so locked into denying him the ball, he just ran out of bounds with him."
Smart was fouled out of bounds, which meant he got two free throws and Gulf Coast got the ball back. He made both his freebies to make it 73-69 on the way to the final margin.
Gulf Coast made 21-of-29 free throws.
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