Pearl River men earn hard fought victory over Meridian
Tyler Johnson / PRCC Intern
POPLARVILLE, MISS. — The Pearl River men's basketball team grinded out a hard-fought win in Monday's contest against Meridian, taking the game by a score of 56-55.
"I hate these games against (Meridian head coach) James (Green) and I told him that," Pearl River head coach Chris Oney said.
"He makes you work so hard. It's just difficult to beat them."
FIRST HALF Pearl River (9-2 overall; 4-0 MACCC) came out strong to start the night, scoring seven of the first 10 points behind layups by Cameron Brown (Hattiesburg) and Ankerion "Noodle" Gross (Sardis; North Panola) followed up by a Brown 3-pointer, making it 7-3.
After a Meridian (9-4; 1-3) run tied the score at seven, Brown took matters into his own hands hitting another 3-pointer and four layups to give the Wildcats a 14-8 lead.
From there, the teams traded scores until back-to-back J.D. Allen (Brookhaven; Wesson) 3-pointers increased Pearl River's lead to eight at 22-14.
The teams again went back-and-forth with Pearl River holding the 31-27 advantage heading into halftime.
SECOND HALF Meridian opened the second half with a six-point run to give them their first lead of the night at 35-31.
The Wildcats then equalized through two hard-fought layups from Jariyon Wilkens (Biloxi) and Jaronn Wilkens (Biloxi).
The teams again traded blows with Brown keeping Pearl River in the game with stellar shooting from the free-throw line, leveling the score at 45 each.
Meridian again went on a small run to give them a 46-41 lead, but the Wildcats did not let that deter them, tying things up once again after Jaronn Wilkens fought all the way to the rim with a tough layup and Brown knocked down another 3-pointer.
The Eagles found momentum leading 50-48 late in the contest, but the Wildcats again responded with an Allen 3-pointer, shifting all the momentum to Pearl River.
With time expiring, Meridian drove down the court one final time needing a 3-pointer to tie, but as the Eagles attempted the shot Jariyon Wilkens soared through the air and recorded a thunderous block, nearly sealing things for the Wildcats.
MCC added two late free throws, but it was not enough as Pearl River came away with the 56-55 victory.
BY THE NUMBERS Brown led the way in scoring for the Wildcats, scoring 17 points off three 3-pointers and a perfect 8-for-8 night from the free-throw line.
Allen had a breakout game for the Wildcats, tallying 15 points, all from beyond the arc.
"That's the JD we envisioned when we signed him," Oney said.
Jariyon Wilkens led the team in rebounding with 7, he also chipped in three blocks. Earl Smith, Jr (Jackson; Lanier) was second in rebounds with six. Smith led the team in assists with 10.
J.D. Allen (Brookhaven; Wesson) hits one of five 3-pointers in Monday's 56-55 victory (Courtney Crosby/PRCC)
The Wildcats return to action Thursday evening on the road against Gulf Coast. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).