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Bulldogs battle but can’t close out upset

GOODMAN — Mississippi Gulf Coast played tooth and nail with Holmes and put a huge scare into the MACCC North’s No. 2 team.

The Bulldogs had it down to one possession with a minute to play but lost 96-89 Thursday in the second round of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.

“It was our best offensive game of the year,” Gulf Coast coach Tim Ryan said. “But defensively, it might have been our worst game. We couldn’t get stops no matter what we did.”

Anthony Ratliff (So., Jackson/Terry) had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, part of a balanced offensive attack. Melvion Flanagan (Fr., Alexandria La./Peabody) led the Bulldogs with 21 points and seven assists.

Rodrique Massenat (So., Trenton N.J./Trenton Catholic) had 16 points, and Dontavius Proby (So., Biloxi/Biloxi) added 15 points. Carr Thiam (Fr., Tampa Fla./Wharton) chipped in 13.

Gulf Coast led all but 80 seconds of the first half and took a 46-44 lead into the locker room. The Bulldogs shot 47 percent from the 3-point line to help fuel one of their third-best offensive outputs in a half all season.

Holmes took over the hot shooting behind the arc in the second half, making 8-of-14 for 57 percent. They would eventually build a lead as big as 13 points with 8:47 left.

Flanagan made a couple of baskets in the paint before Proby nailed a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:48 to play to get Gulf Coast within 86-80. When Thiam made a 3-pointer with 78 seconds left, the Bulldogs got it to 90-87.

But Holmes made all six free throws down the stretch to ice the game. Holmes (12-3) advances to the quarterfinals and a trip to LSU Eunice next week.

The Bulldogs ended their season 6-11.

“You couldn’t ask anything more from these guys,” Ryan said. “It’s just a great bunch of kids. They’re where they’re supposed to be 99 percent of the time. There’s no issues off the court with them, and they really work in the classroom. It’s just a really great group of kids.”

For more information on MGCCC’s 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.