PERKINSTON — For one half Thursday, Mississippi Gulf Coast's nation-leading defense was able to slow down No. 14 Pearl River.
But the archrival Wildcats were able to get buckets in transition in the second half and remain the final unbeaten team in NJCAA Division II with a 73-63 victory at the Weathers-Wentzell Center.
Gulf Coast falls to 12-2, 4-1 MACJC South. The Bulldogs are in a second-place tie with Jones, and they travel to Ellisville to break the tie Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Keevon Oney (So., Gulfport/Gulfport) had 15 points to lead Gulf Coast, and LaRaymond Spivery (So., Lucedale/George County) scored 13. DaJuan Moorer (So., Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola Catholic) added 12 in addition to being a force in the paint on defense.
After falling behind 5-0 coming out of the locker room, Gulf Coast ripped off the next 11 points and lead 20-8 with 9:02 left in the first half. Pearl River retook the lead in the final seconds before the break, 29-28.
The Wildcats (14-0, 5-0) came into the game averaging 95.2 points per game, and their offense took advantage of the Bulldogs' offensive woes in the early going of the second half. The surged on an 11-0 run to take a 48-34 lead with 13:03 left.
Gulf Coast, which had three technical fouls called against it resulting in six points, got the deficit down to 68-60 with 82 seconds left, but couldn't get any closer.
It was only the second time the Bulldogs had allowed more than 71 points, breaking a streak of five games where they'd allowed 65 or fewer.
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