POPLARVILLE – Although there is still plenty of work to be done, the Pearl River Community College men are closing in on a spot in the MACJC State Basketball Tournament.
The Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak with an important 72-64 victory over East Central Thursday night at M.R. White Coliseum.
PRCC (16-4 overall) remained in a tie with Mississippi Gulf Coast for second place in the South Division at 8-4 in division play, one game behind Copiah-Lincoln. ECCC (9-12, 3-9) was eliminated from postseason consideration with the loss.
Pearl River grabbed a 6-0 lead at the outset, all by sophomore Rodney Mallett (Lexington), before the Warriors got going.
A 10-4 run briefly put East Central ahead, but a 16-5 surge put the Wildcats in command, 30-19, with 5:35 to play in the half. PRCC led 36-32 at halftime after the Warriors battled back to close the margin to two, 32-30, with 1:56 to play.
Freshman Eric Thornton Jr. (Jackson) scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the second half as PRCC pulled out to a 13-point lead, and while the Wildcats never quite put the Warriors away, they were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Thornton also had 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Mallett finished with 12 points and sophomore Cameron Douglas (Columbus) had 11 points and 7 rebounds.
PRCC will have the opportunity to play its way into the division title, as the Wildcats close the regular season with games at Mississippi Gulf Coast at 7:30 p.m. Monday and at Co-Lin at 8 p.m. Thursday.
PRCC BASKETBALL SUMMARY
Thursday at Poplarville
Pearl River 72, East Central 64
ECCC 32 32 – 64
PRCC 36 36 – 72
EAST CENTRAL (9-12, 3-9 in South): Josh Green 7, Tre Pinkston 5, Cayman Ruffin 9, Jaquon Dotson 5, Thurston McCarty 13, Cameron Diggs 11, Roti Ware 14.
PEARL RIVER (16-4, 8-4 in South): Jonas James III 6, Cedric Brim Jr. 9, Rodney Mallett 12, Eric Thornton Jr. 25 (10 rebounds), Brandon Cranford 1, Cameron Douglas 11 (7 rebounds), Kirk Parker 7, Jartavius Dobbs 1.