Wildcats catch fire in second half to defeat Meridian

jarrod rigbyPearl River Community College overcame a poor offensive first-half with a superb second-half effort to defeat Meridian 64-54 Thursday night in men’s basketball action at M.R. White Coliseum.

The Wildcats won their second straight game and improved to 12-5 overall and 4-4 in the South Division. Meridian lost its seventh straight game and dropped to 2-14 and 0-8.

The two teams played through 10 lead changes and two ties in the first half, before Ryan McRaney put PRCC ahead for good, 22-20, on a pair of foul shots with 3.8 seconds left in the period.

“I told the kids (at halftime), we can’t possibly shoot that poorly in the second half, and yet we were still ahead,” said PRCC coach Chris Oney. “The big thing I was proud of was that we played at a consistently high level on defense.”

Pearl River converted just 6 of 30 shots (20.0 percent) from the field in the first half, but improved dramatically in the second half, shooting 60 percent (15 of 25) in the second 20 minutes.

The Wildcats also took good care of the ball, committing just six turnovers for the game, and they were 17 of 24 from the foul line.

PRCC opened the second half with an 11-2 run to take command, building a 13-point lead and holding off the Eagles down the stretch.

Freshman Jarrod Rigby was 5 of 9 from 3-point range and led the Wildcats with 17 points. Redshirt sophomore Adrian Williams added 16 points off the bench for PRCC. D.J. Mitchell led Meridian with 13 points. 

Pearl River returns to the road to face Southwest at 7:30 p.m. Monday, before heading to Jones County on Thursday.

PRCC BASKETBALL SUMMARY
MEN
Thursday at Poplarville
Pearl River 64, Meridian 54
Meridian 20 34 – 54
Pearl River 22 42 – 64
MERIDIAN (2-14, 0-8 in South Division): D.J. Mitchell 13 (8 rebounds), Michael Woodard 6, Zachary Scales 3, Kendall Moore 10, Timothy Patton 5, Raphael Shaw 5, Johnny Knox 12.
PEARL RIVER (12-5, 4-4 in South Division): Jarrod Rigby 17, Rodney Mallett 7, Adrian Williams 16, Cameron Douglas 8, Jamani Glover 8, Harold Givens 3, Branden Sheppard 1.

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