Southwest slip past Gulf Coast

Published 11:00 am Friday, January 15, 2016

Terrell Miller’s short jumper with 0:01 on the clock put the cap on an amazing night for the Bears as they upset the previously undefeated Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs, 89-88, in double overtime in Perkinston.

The win, their fourth in a row, moved the Bears to 8-4 overall and, at 3-1, kept them in second place in the MACJC South (the win also moved the Bears to a perfect 4-0 on the road). Gulf Coast dropped to 12-1, 3-1.

The Bears took an early 2-0 lead on Bryce Baker’s jumper, but the Bulldogs quickly responded to go up 4-2 with 17:19 left in the half.

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With the Bears trailing 28-18, and 7:03 on the clock, three-pointers from Emanuel Thompson and Lafayette Rutledge served as bookends to a 17-7 run to end the half. This pulled the Bears back to within two points, 37-35, with much more to come.

A Terrell Miller three-pointer helped the Bears outscore the Bulldogs 9-4 to open the second half and take a 44-41 lead with 18:06 on the clock. The teams battled hard the remainder of the half, trading baskets and the lead.

With the score tied 71-71, the Bears had a chance to secure the win in regulation. But, four missed free throws down the stretch cost them that chance and, together with a missed desperation shot by the Bulldogs, sent the game into extra play.

The Bears took a 77-72 lead midway through the first overtime, but the host Bulldogs would not give up easily as they outscore the Bears 10-5 over the next 2:30 to force yet another extra period.

A pair of Miller free throws and an old-fashioned three-point play by Chris McIntosh put the Bears up 87-83 early in the second overtime. But, again, the Bulldogs would not go quietly, scoring five straight points to take an 88-87 lead with only seconds remaining.

With time running down, and a third overtime looking likely, Miller rebounded and put back a missed shot to score the winning points. A desperation three-pointer by the Bulldogs missed its mark allowing the Bears to bring home the win.

“I’m just so excited for our guys,” said Bears’ head man Thomas Gray. “We could have folded after missing those free throws (at the end of regulation). We came out strong in the first overtime, but had Gulf Coast come roaring back and tie it up again. We could have given up (then).”

Gray the Bears could have also given up in the second overtime, “because the same thing happened. We raced out to a lead, they came back and took the lead with about a minute left. I just can’t fathom our guys continually fighting, never giving up (and) never saying die. I’m so proud for how they fought adversity and how they overcame the trials of being on the road and I’m just go glad God had his hand on these guys tonight and allowed them to finish.”

Miller led all scorers with 33 points and 19 rebounds in the game. He had 24 points, and 12 of the rebounds, in the second half and overtime and hit 15 straight free throws, after going 0-2 in the first half, to finish 15-17 from the line. Thompson ended the game with 22 points and eight rebounds.

Davion Cole-Johnson topped the Bulldogs’ offense with 32 points. He and his teammates combined to make 13 of 20 free throws.

The Bears return to the court on Tuesday with a scheduled 7:30 p.m. South Division home matchup against archrival Co-Lin.