PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast persevered against a red-hot East Central team in the first half Monday night and jumped on the Warriors coming out of the locker room to start the second.
It all resulted in the Bulldogs' biggest offensive night of the season, a 102-90 win at the Weathers-Wentzell Center. Gulf Coast heads into the Christmas break 8-0 after winning the first MACJC South game of the season.
"Undefeated means a lot," Gulf Coast coach Jason Harrison said. "It's something I never thought we'd be, honestly. As time goes on and you practice and get guys to believe in what you're doing, they listen. They're listening, and I think they're starting to put it together."
Dillyn Neely (So., Biloxi/Biloxi) won a 3-point shooting battle against ECCC's Kareen Thompson and scored 29, including seven 3's. He had a four-point play in the first half that helped the Bulldogs claw back from a 10-point deficit with 3 minutes before the break.
Gulf Coast would tie it at 48 with nine seconds before Thompson beat the buzzer to bury his last 3 of the first half to give him 21 points.
"He made a lot of tough shots," Harrison said. "We just wanted to wear on him. We knew he was going to score because he puts up a lot of shots, but as the game went on, we were able to make our run and he got tired."
The strategy worked because Thompson only managed eight in the second half. Gulf Coast surged on a 16-4 run coming out of the locker room to take control of the game, with D'yasmond Booker (Fr., Pascagoula/Pascagoula) getting seven straight points in the middle of it.
"For about a good five- or six-minute stretch, our defense really ramped up and we got it going," Harrison said. "That was the ballgame."
Gulf Coast would lead by as many as 20 on a Justin Minter (Fr., Wenonah/Birmingham, Ala.) steal and layup with 5:28 to play that made it 94-74.
The Bulldogs return to action Jan. 4 when Mid-South Prep visits Perk. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.