PERKINSTON, Miss. (MGCCC Athletics) - New Mississippi Gulf Coast men’s basketball coach Tim Ryan had a prediction he shared with his team before the Bulldogs’ first MACCC South Division game at Ellisville.
“I told them before the game that if we win the board battle, it’s over,” he said. “They’ve got some big guys. That’s a huge difference.”
The Bulldogs won that battle and won the game, beating the Bobcats 76-71 to improve to 2-0. Gulf Coast had 41 rebounds, seven more than Jones, which was playing its first game.
On the offensive board, it was even starker. Gulf Coast had 20 offensive rebounds to Jones’ 21 on its end. Calvin Johnson (So., Long Beach/Long Beach) had six offensive rebounds in the first half, and Anthony Ratliff (So., Jackson/Terry) had nine to lead the team.
Melvion Flanagan (Fr., Alexandria La./Peabody) had 17 points to lead Gulf Coast. Ratliff had 13, Johnson 12 and Rodrique Massenat (So., Trenton N.J./Trenton Catholic) added 10.
Dontavius Proby had a game-high eight assists.
Gulf Coast also continued its hot start at the free-throw line, making 20-of-25 for 80 percent. The Bulldogs picked up nine more freebies than Jones.
MGCCC led by as many as 20 in the first half, and it was 46-32 at halftime. The Bulldogs were up 64-48 with 10:25 left before Jones made a run. The Bobcats scored 19 of the next 21 points to lead 67-66 with 4:34 to play.
Gulf Coast had four turnovers in the first half, but added 14 more after the break to help Jones out.
Flanagan scored the next four points on free throws, and Gulf Coast never trailed again by making seven of the last eight from the charity stripe.
“I’m not sure if that’s a true picture of what I’m going to see in this league or not, but certainly we’re glad to walk out of here with the win.”