POPLARVILLE – Chris Oney couldn’t contain his enthusiasm after his Pearl River Community College men’s basketball team came away with a huge South Division victory.
The Wildcats shot the lights out virtually from start to finish and dominated Copiah-Lincoln 79-61 triumph Monday night at M.R. White Coliseum.
PRCC (13-2 overall, 5-2 division) regained a share of the division lead with the Wolves (14-2, 5-2), whose seven-game winning streak was snapped.
Oney was especially pleased as it came after a disappointing home loss to archrival Mississippi Gulf Coast in the Wildcats’ previous game last week.
“What was gratifying about it was I looked on the floor and we had four freshmen out there,” Oney said. “I was especially proud of the bounce-back from a tough loss last week to Gulf Coast, one of our rivals, and just the resiliency we showed.”
The Wildcats shrugged off an early five-point deficit with razor-sharp shooting and deadly foul shooting. PRCC shot 57.7 percent from the field and converted all 16 free throws it attempted in the first half.
“The kids played hard, they played smart and made really good decisions out there,” Oney said.
Pearl River led by as many as 16 points late in the first half and went into intermission leading 49-35. Co-Lin never got closer than 10 points in the second half, as the Wildcats finished 22 of 24 from the foul line and shot 56.5 percent (26 of 46) from the field for the game.
Defensively, the Wildcats kept Co-Lin’s leading scorer, sophomore Jonathan Floyd, in check, holding him to just 7 points on 3 of 9 shooting.
Freshman Eric Thornton Jr. celebrated his 20th birthday by scoring 26 points, and he also had 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
“There’s a lot I could say about Eric,” said Oney. “He’s just a tough-minded kid who loves the game, and the other guys love playing with him, because he makes them better.”
Sophomore Cameron Douglas (Columbus) had a season-high 12 points and redshirt sophomore Jerrod Rigby also had 12 points.
The Wildcats will take to the road to start the second half of division play, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Meridian. PRCC will be back home next Monday to battle Southwest. That game will livestream on prccmedia.com.
PRCC BASKETBALL SUMMARY
Monday at Poplarville
Pearl River 79, Copiah-Lincoln 61
Co-Lin 35 26 – 61
PRCC 49 30 – 79
COPIAH-LINCOLN (14-2, 5-2 in South): Anthony Jones 12, Darrian Wilson 5, Damarius Brooks 9, Tray Lawson 4, Jonathan Floyd 7, Xavier Heidelberg 4, Youry White 20.
PEARL RIVER (13-2, 5-2 in South): Jonas James III 2, Cedric Brim Jr. 2, Rodney Mallett 8, Eric Thornton Jr. 26, Brandon Cranford 2, Cameron Douglas 12, Willie Logan 4, Kirk Parker 7, Jartavius Dobbs 4 (8 rebounds).