It took the Wildcats a little while to get going in their 65-62 comeback win over Northwest Mississippi Wednesday. Thursday night was a completely different story. Pearl River Community College led by as many as 22 points in the first half on the way to an 81-60 win over Mississippi Delta Community College in the MACJC men's championship game.
PRCC wasted no time opening a large lead on the Trojans. A three-pointer from Josh Carpenter with 9:51 to play in the first half gave the Wildcats a ten point lead. A minute later Daniel Grieves busted the game wide open. The freshman scored seven points within twenty seconds to put the Wildcats ahead 30-13 with eight and a half minutes to play in the first half.
PRCC led 42-24 heading into the half, but head coach Richard Mathis knew his team could not relax. "We said this game's almost the opposite of what we had last night. We came back (from a 17 point halftime deficit) on that team. We told them the score was 0-0 and we had to win the second half," Mathis said after the win.
Mississippi Delta made a slight run at the beginning of the second half, cutting the Wildcat lead to 16 with 18:16 left in the game. However, that was short-lived. PRCC outscored the Trojans 39-36 in the second half. A Xavian Rimmer jumper with three and half minutes to play put the game away giving Pearl River an 81-51 lead, its largest of the night.
The win gives Mathis his eighth MACJC state title as a head coach, his sixth at PRCC. Mathis said this one had extra meaning as it was the last game the Wildcats would play in Shivers Gymnasium. "This one's really special. That's what I told my players before the game. We were going to be a part of history...I said is it going to be sad history, or happy history? It turned out to be really, really happy history."
DeAngelo Coleman and Xavian Rimmer led the way for the Wildcats with 15 points each. Rimmer also had six assists, five rebounds, and two steals.
Next up for PRCC is the Region 23 tournament March 6-9 at Mississippi College in Clinton.