SUMMIT, Miss. — Southwest was determined to frustrate No. 3 Pearl River in an attempt to slow down the Wildcats on Thursday. PRCC was determined not to be deterred.
In the end it was Pearl River that had its way, topping the Bears 78-59.
The victory was PRCC's fourth straight over Southwest.
"This was a workman's type game. I don't know how fun it was for the fans to watch, but once again this was a playoff type atmosphere and a playoff type of grinding game," Pearl River coach Chris Oney said. "We had to find different ways to score on the offensive end to win but the defense stayed the same."
Making his third straight start, Jariyon Wilkens (Biloxi) made a statement for the Wildcats.
The freshman tied for the team lead with 16 points and hit several timely 3-pointers that allowed PRCC to remain ahead of the Bears.
"How 'bout our freshman Jariyon?" Oney said. "He represented his twin well and he represented Pearl River well."
OFF AND RUNNING
The Wildcats (14-0 overall, 6-0 MACJC South) exploded out of the gate, scoring the game's first 12 points after immediately ramping up defensive pressure on the Bears (9-6, 3-3).
Southwest made a run to counter PRCC's hot start and pulled within four, 16-12, midway through the first half.
Although SMCC closed the gap, Tae Hardy (Ellenwood, Ga.; Believe Prep) hit a 3 in the final seconds of the half for a 35-28 lead going into the break.
Southwest hit a couple shots early in the second half to stay within 10 points, but before too long the Wildcats overpowered the home team. Wilkens' final basket — a 3-pointer — with around 10 minutes left to play put PRCC ahead 53-42 and Southwest never got back within sniffing distance of the lead.
Hardy tied Wilkens for the team lead with 16 points. The East Carolina transfer's output was aided by going 7 of 8 from the free throw line. Isaih Moore (Columbia, S.C.; Sumter) added 14 points with eight rebounds and two blocks. Cameron Smith (Okolona) also scored 14 to round out PRCC's leaders.
COACHES VS. CANCER
Thursday's doubleheader featured a special cause as it was Coaches vs. Cancer Night.
The games are held each year as a fundraising tool of the American Cancer Society. During the games, coaches wear sneakers and fans are asked to do the same.
Anyone who was unable to attend the game but still wants to make a donation can do so at https://pledgeit.org/cvc20-southwest.
The Wildcats have a busy week ahead with two doubleheaders at Marvin R. White Coliseum. PRCC hosts Meridian on Monday and Copiah-Lincoln on Thursday. Both doubleheaders will begin at 5:30 p.m.
HOW TO TUNE IN
All home events are broadcast on PRCCAthletics.com and PRCCMedia.com. Anyone who has an Amazon Fire or Roku device can stream PRCC broadcasts by downloading the "Pearl River CC" Channel from the app store. Conference games can also be heard on WRJW 1320 AM, WRJWRadio.com or by downloading the WRJW app.