POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College used its deep bench to maximum effect in a key South Division battle against Southwest Mississippi.
The Wildcats overcame significant foul trouble with little difficulty in a 72-57 victory over the Bears in men’s basketball action Monday night at M.R. White Coliseum.
PRCC (15-2 overall) has won six of its last seven games and remained in a tie with Copiah-Lincoln for first place in the division at 7-2. Southwest (13-5, 4-5) has lost four of its last five games.
“Every night, it’s someone else stepping up at the right time,” said PRCC coach Chris Oney. “Tonight, in the second half, it was Ray Anderson, who’s been kind of a forgotten guy the last few games. But we needed him tonight, and he stepped up and made plays.”
Indeed, with leading scorer Eric Thornton Jr. on the bench with four fouls for much of the second half, Anderson (pictured on the left), a sophomore from New Orleans who transferred from Frank Phillips (Texas) CC, scored all 11 of his points in the second half to keep the Bears at bay.
The game was tight through the first five minutes, with three lead changes and three ties, before the Wildcats went on a 13-0 run to take control.
Thornton, a freshman from Jackson who leads the team with 21.3 points per game, had 13 of his game-high 17 points in the first half as the Wildcats built a 17-point lead, and they led 41-29 at halftime.
Southwest scored the first four points of the second half to cut the margin to 41-33, but sophomore Jartavius Dobbs (Aberdeen) got a lay-up, and after a foul on the Bears, freshman Cedric Brim Jr. (Tupelo) hit a short jump shot in the lane.
The Wildcats led by double digits the rest of the way.
“The kids are playing with so much more poise than they were earlier in the season,” said Oney. “But the last few games, it’s been our defense that’s been carrying us. We’ve been flying around on defense, boxing out and making plays on defense.”
Freshman Jonas James III (Jackson) added 13 points for Pearl River.
The Wildcats will be back home Thursday to take on Jones County. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start and will be livestreamed on prccmedia.com.
PRCC BASKETBALL SUMMARY
MEN Monday at Poplarville
Pearl River 72, Southwest 57
SMCC 29 28 – 57
PRCC 41 31 – 72
SOUTHWEST (13-5, 4-5 in South): Jeremy Harrell 10, Charles Winston 2, John Knight III 6, Antonio Cowart Jr. 13, Howard Smith 4, Ricardo Lynch 2, Robert Boyd 9, Aleksa Dobrijevic 1, Roydell Brown 10..
PEARL RIVER (15-2, 7-2 in South): Jonas James III 13, Cedric Brim Jr. 3, Rodney Mallett 9, Eric Thornton Jr. 17, Brandon Cranford 8, Cameron Douglas 2, Willie Logan 5, Ray Anderson 11, Jartavius Dobbs 4.