'New team, new season’ motto powers No. 17 PRCC into second half of season


POPLARVILLE – No. 17 Pearl River won’t ease into the second half of the 2018-19 season. After taking several weeks off for winter break, the MACJC’s lone undefeated men’s team will be welcomed back to the court with a road heavy January schedule.

The Wildcats (9-0, 1-0 MACJC) visit Delgado at 7 p.m. Tuesday in their final non-conference game of the year before traveling to Decatur on Thursday to play East Central in a 7:30 p.m. tip. PRCC hosts rival Jones College at 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats play just one more home game – Jan. 24 against Southwest – the rest of the month. Road contests in January include Jan. 17 at Hinds, Jan. 22 at Gulf Coast, Jan. 28 at Meridian and Jan. 31 at Copiah-Lincoln.

Jonas Jones III (1) and Brandon Rachal (11)

“I told the guys the next 31 days are going to be the biggest of the season with 7 of 10 on the road,” PRCC coach Chris Oney said. “Now that there’s a lot of film out there, teams have been able to scout us and will try to take away what we do well.

“All the upcoming games are going to be challenging. We’re going to have to be ready to play.”

‘NEW TEAM, NEW SEASON’

With that in mind, the break couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I told them to find a gym and workout, stay in love with the process, so to speak, but to not worry so much about the wins and losses as much. Just concentrate on themselves,” Oney said. “I think they came back refocused, reenergized and recharged.

“Our motto now is new team, new season. We got back to the basics with everything (in practice) and addressed a few issues we had during the first semester. We’re ready to put all that in motion.”

The team’s first couple of practices back from break were some of the best of the year.

“I don’t think they’re satisfied with what they have done so far,” Oney said. “They want to see how far they can take it.”

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

Pearl River was one of the nation’s top offensive squads through the first portion of the season. The team’s 98.0 scoring average ranked 17th nationally and was tops in the MACJC. Pushing the attack, four Wildcats averaged double-figures in scoring. Cedric Brim Jr. (Tupelo; Shannon) scored at a 16.7 points per game clip to lead PRCC. LSU transfer Brandon Rachal (Natchitoches, La.; Natchitoches Central) is averaging 14.1 ppg, while Eric Thornton Jr. (Canton; Murrah) and Jonas James III (Jackson; Murrah) are averaging 13.8 and 10. 2 ppg, respectively.

PRCC’s 24.3 assists-per-gare fourth-highestme a in the country. James was one of the top assist men in the country through 2018, averaging 8.6 helpers per game – which is good enough for third nationally. Rachal and Thornton are second and third on the team, averaging 4.0 and 3.3.

Rachal is PRCC’s leading rebounder, averaging 8.2 per night. Chris Agbo (Jos, Nigeria) is a close second, averaging 7.2.

HOW TO TUNE IN

Thursday’s game at ECCC will be carried on WRJW 1320 AM. and at WRJWRadio.com and the WRJW app. The Warriors are also streaming the game at ECCC.edu/eccc-media.

In addition to Monday’s game being carried on WRJW, the rivalry contest against JC will also be streamed at PRCCAthletics.com.

For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).

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