East Miss' come-from-behind effort eliminates Pearl River in MACJC State Tournament

     FULTON --- Pearl River Community College's hopes of a repeat as men's state champions flew out the window Monday, as North No. 2 East Mississippi put together a late come-from-behind rally to eliminate the South No. 3 Wildcats with a 73-68 opening-round victory in the MACJC State Tournament underway here in Itawamba CC's Davis Event Center.
    The victorious Lions started slow, but managed to tie it up early in the second half before taking their first lead with 5:30 left.
    The River dropped to 16-7 overall and will enter the Region 23 Tournament set next week at Mississippi College in Clinton. East Miss, 18-5, will face South No. 1 Jones County, 84-57 victors over North No. 4 Coahoma to kick off Monday's action, at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the men's semi-finals.
    The Wildcats held the Lions scoreless for the first 5:10 of the game, while building a 10-0 advantage. East Miss' Davon Ester hit a basket on a putback to open the Lions scoring and kicked off a 12-3 run to cut PRCC's lead to 13-12 with 11:44 left before the break.
    Pearl River responded with an impressive 10-1 comeback surge to build its lead to 23-13. Quintarius Porter, a Southwest Mississippi CC transfer out of Forest Hill High in Jackson, capped the scoring run with a pair of foul shots and one of his three treys in the game. The Wildcats produced two more 10-point leads before the intermission, but the Lions ended the half with an 8-4 surge to cut PRCC's lead to 38-32 at the half.
    East Miss tied it up at 43-43 off a Mack Foster three five minutes into the second half before Foster hit another trey with 5:30 left to give the Lions the lead for good. Southeastern Louisiana signee DeAngelo Coleman of South Pike High pulled off a three-point play with a 1:17 left to pull the Wildcats to within two, while Louisiana-Monroe signee Rakeem Esco of Canton High banged in a trey in the final seconds for the final points of the game.
    Porter paced the Wildcats with a season-high 17 points (three treys, three blocks), while Coleman added 12 (six assists, three treys), Troy State (Ala.) signee Jeremy Hollimon of Gulfport High 11 (three treys), Kaven Bernard out of Assumption High in Napoleonville, La., nine (10 rebounds), Bryant McGee of West Marion High eight (five rebounds), Esco six (two treys), and Devontai Foye of Hattiesburg High two (five assists).
    Jacolby Mobley led the Lions with a game-high 25 points (two treys), including a five-for-five effort at the foul line, while Davon Ester scored 13 (six rebounds), Foster 12 (four treys, four rebounds), Avery Woodson eight (six rebounds), Devonta Pollard seven (nine rebounds), Justin Kinsey and Brandon Moss, three each, and Nick Giles two.
    Pearl River hit 41.9 percent (26 of 62) from the field to East Mississippi's 47.7 percent (21 of 44), while the Wildcats were six of 26 (23.1 percent) from three-point range to the Lions impressive 44 percent (11 of 25) effort. At the foul line PRCC was 15 of 20 (75 percent), while EMCC was 12 of 14 (85.7 percent).
    The River led on the boards with 37 rebounds (18 offensive, 19 defensive) to East Miss' 25 (five offensive, 20 defensive), while the Wildcats committed eight turnovers to the Lions' 16.
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MACJC STATE TOURNAMENT
February 24-27 @ Itawamba CC in Fulton, MS
MEN
South No. 3 Pearl River vs. North No. 2 East Mississipopi
East Miss. 73, Pearl River 68
First Half: 38-32 (PRCC)
Second Half: 41-30 (EMCC)
SCORERS
Pearl River (16-7): Quintarius Porter 17 (3 treys, 3 blocks), DeAngelo Coleman 12 (6 assists, 3 treys), Jeremy Hollimon 11 (3 treys), Kaven Bernard 9 (10 RB), Bryant McGee 8 (5 RB), Rakeem Esco 6 (2 treys), Devontai Foye 2 (5 assists).
East Mississippi (18-5): Jacolby Mobley 25 (2 treys, 5 of 5 FT), Davon Ester 13 (6 RB), Mack Foster 12 (4 treys, 4 RB), Avery Woodson 8 (6 RB), Devonta Pollard 7 (9 RB), Justin Kinsey 3, Brandon Moss 3, Nick Giles 2.
FIELD GOALS: Pearl River – 26 of 62 (41.9%), East Miss. – 21 of 44 (47.7%).
THREE POINTERS: Pearl River – 6 of 26 (23.1%), East Miss. – 11 of 25 (44.0%).
FREE THROWS: Pearl River – 15 of 20 (75.0%), East Miss. – 12 of 14 (85.7%).
REBOUNDS: Pearl River – 37 (18 offensive, 19 defensive), East Miss. – 25 (5 offensive, 20 defensive).
TURNOVERS: Pearl River – 8, East Miss. – 16.
UP NEXT: PRCC is eliminated from the MACJC Tournament, but enters the Region 23 Tournament next week at Mississippi College in Clinton. EMCC faces South No. 1 Jones County, 84-57 winners over North No. 4 Coahoma prior to the PRCC-EMCC match up, at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the state tournament semi-finals.

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