Pearl River overcomes early deficit to win 9th straight “Cat Fight”
Published 10:43 am Friday, February 10, 2023
POPLARVILLE, Miss. – The Pearl River men’s basketball team responded in a big way after facing an early deficit to Jones College to pick up a pivotal 62-59 conference win in a raucous Marvin R. White Coliseum on Thursday.
Four Wildcats (15-6; 7-4 MACCC) scored in double figures as the Wildcats secured their ninth consecutive win over the visiting Bobcats (13-7; 6-4).
“I was really excited about the way we competed,” PRCC coach Chris Oney said of the Wildcat performance. “We were tired; we were playing really hard. It took us winning a tough game against East Mississippi, it gave us confidence. It is still not perfect, but if you play defense and hold teams to 59 points, it allows you to win despite some mistakes.”
Jones opened up the “Cat Fight” on all cylinders as the Bobcats started the night with an 8-0 run. Cam Brown (Hattiesburg) got the Wildcats on the board at the 16:12 mark to stop the Jones run. The Wildcats and Bobcats traded baskets over the next four minutes, with the Wildcats getting baskets from Dylan Brumfield (Oak Grove) and Carlous Williams (Hattiesburg; Harrison Central). The Wildcats trailed 18-8 with a timeout called at the 12:48 mark of the first half.
PRCC came out of the timeout with a hot hand and swung the momentum in favor of the Wildcats. Brown converted an offensive rebound into an acrobatic layup to cut the Jones lead to 18-11. After free throws by Williams and Brown, Jermahri Hill (Bessemer, Ala.; Berkmar) hit a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to 20-17. Hill did not rest on his laurels and hustled back to block a Bobcat shot.
On the next possession, Williams brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous dunk, closing the gap to one point, 20-19. On the ensuing Jones possession, Brown forced a turnover near midcourt, then fed Williams a perfect assist for another monster dunk giving the Wildcats their first lead of the night, 21-20. Not to be outdone, Brown hit a 3-pointer to increase the Wildcat lead to five, 25-20.
Jones cut the lead to one, 25-24 before Hill registered his third block of the night to stem the Bobcat momentum.
Jones converted a couple of free throws to go into the half with a 1-point lead, 28-27.
Brumfield got the Wildcats on the board early in the second half with a strong layup as he cut through traffic. Brown followed with a 3-pointer to knot the score at 32-32. After two Jones 3-pointers, Brown hit another 3-pointer to get the Wildcats within three points, 38-35.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Hill and Williams gave the Wildcats a 2-point lead, 41-39. Ty Moore (Grenada) followed with a basket off a nice assist from Hill to give the Wildcats a 43-41 advantage. A Brumfield layup extended the lead to 45-41.
After a Jones 3-pointer cut the lead to one, 45-44, Hill sliced past two Bobcat defenders for a layup and a 47-44 lead.
Jones was able to swing the momentum their way and build a 51-48 lead. Brown found Moore inside to cut the Jones lead to 51-50. Hill followed with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to give the Wildcats the lead, 53-51. Brumfield scored on a strong layup in traffic, and Moore found Hill after a Bobcat turnover to increase the Wildcat lead, 57-52.
A deep 3-pointer by Hill gave the Wildcats a 62-56 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the game. Jones cut the lead to three before missing a desperation 3-pointer as time ran out, giving the Wildcats a 62-59 victory.
LEADING THE WAY
Hill paced the Wildcats with 18 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Brown scored 17, with Brumfield adding 13 and Williams contributing 10.
Moore had a strong night on the glass, with 10 rebounds to go with his four points and one assist.
“It was perfect,” Oney said of Moore’s performance. “He played, he walled up, he didn’t slap down. It saved the game for us.”
The Wildcats will be on the road Monday when they travel to Moorhead to take on the Mississippi Delta Trojans. Tipoff inside J.T. Hall Coliseum is 6:00 PM and will be livestreamed at youtube.com/@MDCCTrojans/
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