CLINTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast exacted some revenge Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the NJCAA Region 23 Men's Basketball Tournament, beating Southern-Shreveport 78-60.
"The first game we played them, they beat us," Gulf Coast guard Keevon Oney said. "We knew we needed to go at them harder to get the win. It was a motivation."
Oney, a sophomore guard from Gulfport, led the Bulldogs with 17 points. DaJuan Moorer (So., Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola Catholic) had 16, and Tafari Simms (Fr., Hamilton, Ontario/Lincoln Prep) and Dillyn Neely (Fr., Biloxi/Biloxi) added 12 each.
Gulf Coast will play Holmes in Thursday's first men's semifinal at 5 p.m. at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus. Holmes beat MACJC champ East Mississippi 72-64.
"I thought we did a little bit of everything well," Gulf Coast coach Wendell Weathers said. "It was a solid go for us. I felt good about the game coming in. We emphasized our defense and our rebounding, because that's been our strong point all year long."
The Bulldogs (20-5) scored 13 straight points during an eight-minute stretch midway through the first half. Neely started it with a 3-pointer, and Phoenix Ford (Fr., St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg) ended it with a bucket in the paint that made it 28-10 with 8:10 to play.
Ford was the fifth Bulldog in double-digits with 10 points.
Gulf Coast led by 21 at halftime and pushed the lead to as many as 26 in the second half. It was the Bulldogs' first Region 23 since beating Shreveport 88-81 two years ago.
The Jaguars (10-12) won 65-63 in Gulf Coast's second game of the MGCCC Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 20. It wasn't going to happen a second time.
"These past couple of days at practice, we had really good energy," Moorer said. "You could see today it transferred over. We had good ball movement. We just looked really energized."
NJCAA Region 23 Men's Basketball Tournament
Game 1: 6. Gulf Coast 78, 3. Southern-Shreveport 60
Game 2: 7. Holmes 72, 2. East Mississippi 74
Game 3: 5. Northeast vs. 4 Pearl River, 5 p.m.
Game 4: 8. East Central vs. 1. Jones, 7 p.m.
Game 5: Holmes vs. Gulf Coast, 5 p.m.
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7 p.m.
Championship: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 7 p.m.
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