PERKINSTON — An ailing Dedoch Chan ignited an explosive Mississippi Gulf Coast offense Monday night in a key MACJC South victory. The Bulldogs downed Southwest 85-80 at the Weathers/Wentzell Center.
"It was a good win. I told our kids we're getting better all the time," Gulf Coast coach Wendell Weathers said. "As bad as we've played, particularly at home, we're one game out of first with seven to play. We can win the thing if we just go play."
Gulf Coast improved to 11-5 overall, 4-3 in the MACJC South. The Bulldogs are one game behind Copiah-Lincoln and Pearl River, tied with Jones County for third.
Southwest (12-4, 3-4) is tied for fifth.
Chan (Fr, Rochester, Minn./John Marshall) led Gulf Coast with 21 unexpected points.
"I didn't think D.C. was even going to be here tonight," Weathers said. "He wasn't at the walkthrough today because he was sick. I was surprised to even see him. He played just about 40 minutes."
A 23-6 run in the middle of the first half sent the Bulldogs to a 34-17 lead 5:11 before halftime. A Southwest three-quarters court press helped the Bears get back in the game with a 10-0 run.
Chan had the last three points of the half, making the first of two free throws and then converting from the right block after the Bulldogs grabbed the miss. They led 42-32 at the break.
Despite illness, he had 11 at half.
"I just tried not to think about it," he said. "I was focused on playing hard. It was doing the little things coach tells us to do."
Gulf Coast kept Southwest at arm's length for the first 11 minutes of the second half, but a 7-0 run by the Bears made it 67-63 with 7:32 to play.
The Bulldogs got a 6-0 run of their own a few minutes later, then survived a frenetic final minute that saw Southwest coach Thomas Gray run on the court during play to confront an official.
The Bears trimmed the deficit to as few as three, but Gulf Coast made enough free throws and got enough stops to survive.
"I thought our defense was really good," Weathers said. "I thought our offense was good most of the night. Down the stretch, we gave up way too many offensive rebounds. We got stop after stop after stop and they had offensive rebounds and scored."
The Bulldogs are in action again Thursday when Hinds visits the Weathers/Wentzell Center. Tipoff in Perkinston is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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