PERKINSTON — LaRaymond Spivery's last-second 3-pointer in regulation capped a furious last-minute rally, and Mississippi Gulf Coast defeated East Central 83-80 in overtime at the Weathers-Wentzell Center.
"That's what I've been practicing on my whole life. It just went in," the sophomore guard from Lucedale said. "We just don't ever stop playing. We want to play till it's 0.0 on the clock."
That's exactly what was left on the clock after his long shot from right of the top of the key bounced high off the back rim and nestled into the twine.
"The Good Lord took care of him," Gulf Coast coach Wendell Weathers said. "He shot it straight and it hit the rim and bounced up and went in. We've got a lot to be thankful for."
The Bulldogs' trailed by 67-60 with 59.8 seconds left in regulation and tied it despite giving up a couple of Warriors buckets. Spivery started the comeback with a 3 from the top of the key, and Simms (Fr., Hamilton, Ontario/Lincoln Prep) made two free throws and then an old-fashioned three-point play with 6.9 seconds left to cut the deficit to 71-68.
Spivery forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play in the corner to the right of the bucket, and Gulf Coast looped an inbounds pass to Spivery. He tiptoed at half court, then got in motion for the game-tying shot.
In overtime, the Bulldogs trailed by 3 twice, but Simms' put-back dunk tied it at 79 with 38.3 left. After Simms rebounded a Warriors miss with 5.6 seconds left, ECCC coach Robert Thompson got whistled for a technical foul.
Spivery made both, and Simms converted two more after he was fouled to salt the game away.
Gulf Coast had led most of the night before Roti Ware hit a couple of 3-pointers in a 12-0 run that put the Bulldogs seven down. The Bulldogs switch from zone to man defense and came up with a 10-2 run of their own.
"Our man-to-man defense is really good," Weathers said. "We played our zone because we didn't think they scored very well from the perimeter as a team. As a team, they didn't. We knew Ware did. We just didn't get there (in the zone)."
East Central falls to 6-1, 0-1.
"I was concerned about this game," Weathers said. "I've seen them on film and I think they're pretty doggone good. It just shows the determination of our guys."
Gulf Coast plays its last game of 2018 Wednesday when Delgado visits. Tipoff in Perkinston is set for 7:30 p.m.
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