CLINTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast scored just two points in the final six minutes of play and lost 48-45 to Holmes on Thursday in the semifinals of the NJCAA Region 23 Men's Basketball Tournament.
"Our defense was really good," Gulf Coast coach Wendell Weathers said. "You give up 45 points, you should win that game every time you play it. You've just got to be able to score. We didn't play through contact. We just let that one slip away. Holmes plays really hard. You have to give them credit."
The Bulldogs (20-6) led by nine at the half, 27-18. They held Holmes (17-9) to 26.1 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, but it made 4-of-8 3-pointers in the second half to spark a comeback.
Keevon Oney (So., Gulfport/Gulfport) dunked with 6:40 left to put Gulf Coast up 43-35, but managed only one more basket the rest of the way.
"We didn't do anything particularly different the second half, and I don't think Holmes did anything different," Weathers said. "We just missed shots at the rim and didn't get fouled. We did a pretty good job of doing that in the first half and scoring."
Gulf Coast made all its free throws, but only shot six in the game. The Bulldogs were 3-of-16 from the 3-point line and 8-of-27 from the field in the second half at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
Tafari Simms (Fr., Hamilton, Ontario/Lincoln Prep) led the team with 16 points. He was the only Bulldog in double digits. Willie Logan (So., Brookhaven/Northwest Rankin) had eight points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Weathers' team reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2012.
"I think we've had an outstanding season, to be perfectly honest," he said. "When you win 20 games, you go 11-3 in the conference, that finishes first in our conference eight out of 10 years. These kids have worked their tails off. They've done an outstanding job representing this school on and off the floor.
"I'm disappointed as all get-out we lost today, but I couldn't be more proud of these kids and happy to work with this bunch. They were a pleasure to come to practice with every day. The season was a really, really good season for what we accomplished, but it was also a disappointing season for what we didn't accomplish."
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