Bulldogs exact revenge on Holmes
Published 10:32 am Tuesday, March 1, 2022
PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast talked about payback against Holmes, the team that had knocked the Bulldogs out of the NJCAA Region 23 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
How successful that motivational ploy played out was up for some discussion, but the end result was what they were looking for. Gulf Coast beat the defending Region 23 champs 92-72 Monday in the second round at the Weathers-Wentzell Center.
“For sure,” Gulf Coast forward Carr Thiam said. “They sent us home last year, so we had to send them home this year.”
The seventh-seeded Bulldogs (17-7) hopped on a bus about 45 minutes after the game to head to Booneville. They play the second-seeded Northeast Mississippi at 6 p.m. on Tuesday night. The game will be streamed at https://nemcctv.com/blackchannel/.
Holmes, which was the 10-seed, finished the season 11-13. It had knocked out Gulf Coast at the same point of the tournament last season. That was emphasized before the game.
“I’m not sure how well that worked out because we came out with a slow start,” Gulf Coast coach Tim Ryan said. “I think it just came down to getting the stops. We can score. We’ve been able to score all year; guys have not had success stopping us. It’s just whether we get stops. If we do, we win games.”
Gulf Coast managed only 12 points in the first 10 minutes of play and trailed 17-9 at one point. Thiam, who led Gulf Coast with 18 points, made a 3-pointer with 4:23 to play to give Gulf Coast a 28-27 lead. The Bulldogs took a 37-35 lead into the locker room.
The Bulldogs used a Diamond-and-1 defense to great effect in the second half, and quickly built a double-digit lead. Melvion Flanagan (So., Peabody/Alexandria, La.) twirled in a spinning alley-oop pass for Anthony Ratliff (So., Terry/Jackson) which brought the house down at 49-40.
Lee Flenor (So., South Miami/Miami, Fla.) pushed it to 11 from his office on the right block. Donovan Sanders (Fr., Lake Cormorant/Walls) answered a Holmes 3 with a driving bucket and the Bulldogs never led by fewer than 10 again.
“I think defensively, we were able to hold them and get out and run,” Ryan said. “We went to that Diamond-and-1, and they really had no answer for it.”
Holmes shot 35 percent in the second half, while Gulf Coast shot a mind-blowing 79 percent. The Bulldogs shot nearly 65 percent for the game, including 55 percent behind the 3-point arc.
Flanagan and Flenor had 17 points each, and Dontavius Proby (So., Biloxi/Biloxi) finished with 13. Ratliff had nine rebounds to lead Gulf Coast.
The Gulf Coast coaching staff was huddling on the bus late Monday night working on the scouting report for the Tigers. Northeast won the first meeting 102-91 back on Jan. 10.
“I have not looked ahead one second,” Ryan said. “The assistants (Lane Below and Jake Simmons) have been working on them, so I’m going to get some input from them.”
NJCAA Region 23 Men’s Basketball Tournament
Friday, Feb. 25
No. 16 Delgado 2, No. 17 Coahoma 0 (forfeit)
Saturday, Feb. 26
No. 14 Baton Rouge 77, No. 19 Mississippi Delta 61
No. 18 East Central 90, No. 15 Copiah-Lincoln 85
Monday, Feb. 28
No. 1 Pearl River 93, No. 16 Delgado
No. 2 Northeast Mississippi 75, No. 18 East Central 65
No. 3 Meridian 62, No. 14 Baton Rouge 48
No. 4 East Mississippi 59, No. 13 Itawamba 55
No. 5 LSU Eunice 83, No. 12 Hinds 67
No. 6 Jones 97, No. 11 Southern-Shreveport 70
No. 7 Gulf Coast 92, No. 10 Holmes 72
No. 8 Northwest Mississippi 82, No. 9 Southwest Mississippi
Tuesday, March 1
Games played at highest-seeded team
Northwest at Pearl River
Gulf Coast at Northeast
Jones at Meridian
LSU Eunice at East Mississippi
Friday, March 4
Played at A.E. Wood Coliseum, Clinton
Saturday, March 15
Played at A.E. Wood Coliseum, Clinton
For more information on MGCCC’s 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.