PERKINSTON — Dillyn Neely had a night that will long be remembered at Mississippi Gulf Coast on Monday, making 10-of-13 3-pointers off the bench to lead the Bulldogs to an 82-72 win over Hinds.
Neely (Fr., Biloxi/Biloxi) finished with 36 points, a season high.
"He's a kid that no matter what you say to him, how you say it to him, it rolls right off his back like water off a duck," Gulf Coast coach Wendell Weathers said, "and he truly believes he's going to make every shot he takes. And I just about do."
LaRaymond Spivery (So., Lucedale/George County) scored 14 and was integral in getting Neely his looks.
"It felt great," Neely said. "My point guard, LaRaymond Spivery, was looking for me. I was just trying to do my best to help my team. Last time I had a night like this, I was a sophomore at D'Iberville and we played Hancock at their place."
Gulf Coast improved to 13-3 overall and 5-2 in the MACJC South halfway through division play. The Bulldogs have control of third place in the South, two games ahead of Copiah-Lincoln and three ahead of Southwest, Hinds and Meridian.
Gulf Coast is one game back of Jones and two behind Pearl River.
The nationally-ranked Bulldogs defense helped get them to a 22-3 lead with 11:35 left in the first half. Neely had entered the game and made his first three 3-pointers in that span.
Hinds (9-7, 2-5) got back within seven before the Bulldogs were able to stretch it to 46-34 at halftime. Neely had made 8-of-10 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes and had 26.
Gulf Coast held Hinds to nine points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, eventually leading by 21 before letting Hinds back in it. Gulf Coast led just 78-70 with 29.2 seconds left but made enough free throws to salt it away.
"I thought we played really well in spurts," Weathers said. "Our offense was pretty good most of the time. Defensively, we played in spurts. I don't know why we get ahead and then let up on the defensive end and let up rebounding."
Gulf Coast snapped a two-game losing skid and will hit the road Thursday to play East Central. Tipoff in Decatur is set for 7:30 p.m. The Bulldogs won the first meeting 83-80 in overtime.
"This means we're back on track," Neely said. "We've got bigger goals than just winning this game. We want to win a championship. We're trying to work our way back up. We fell off these last couple of games, but tonight shows us we're back on track."
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