Two-time defending MACJC Pearl River failed to get the job done in the second half and East Mississippi pulled out an 80-73 win over the Wildcats.
Wildcat forward tried his best to lead Pearl River under the win column. He scored a game-high 29 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. The Madison, Wisconsin native connected on 13 of 13 from the foul line and blocked three shots.
Pearl River led 39-38 at the half. The second half had 12 lead changes and 11 ties. The Lions exploded to a 72-59 lead with 6:39 to play as East Mississippi went on a 21-7 run.
Juan Davis Jr. led five East Mississippi players in double figures with 18 points.
PRCC head coach Chris Oney said, "We had guys who needed to make shots that didn't make shots. Those guys tried to make the plays that we needed to make, but they didn't make them. Some nights it's like that."
Despite the loss, Pearl River (16-8) will play in the NJCAA Region Tournament next week at Clinton, thanks to finishing the regular season as the top seed in the South Division.
The Gulf Coast Bulldogs upset No. 1 seed Holmes 100-88 in their first round MACJC Tournament game. The Bulldogs battled back from a 10-point deficit before pulling away for the win.
"We had some things where we just had the wrong guy guarding Daryl Macon, "stated coach Wendell Weathers. "We just left him open. Once we got that fixed, our offense was good. They really didn't know how to guard our stuff, I didn't think. We just executed our offense."
Gulf Coast (19-5) went on a 21-6 runs by putting the clamps on Holmes standout player Macon, holding him to five points in the last 12:48.
Davion Cole-Johnson led the Bulldogs with 25 points and right rebounds. Deshawn Jones added 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds for Gulf Coast.
The Bulldogs advance into the second round facing Jones 8 p.m. Wednesday. Jones, the South No. 2 seed, defeated Northeast 67-63. The winner advances to the championship game Thursday night at 8.
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