2nd half surge lifts Pirates past Commodores

PANAMA CITY — Pensacola State dominated the second half of all three matchups with Gulf Coast this season.

In the last meeting, the Commodores’ 20-point halftime lead was enough to withstand a furious second-half rally in a one-point win.

On Wednesday night at the Billy Harrison Field House, Gulf Coast’s four-point lead wasn’t nearly enough cushion to overcome Pensacola State’s second half surge, with the Pirates taking an 89-80 victory.

Commodores coach Scott Jackson said it’s not like his players were unprepared for the Pirates coming out strong after the break. That has been Pensacola State’s M.O. all season.

“I’ve stressed the point to our guys that they’d played eight (conference) games and in six of them they’ve outscored their opponent in the second half,” he said. “It wasn’t just us.”

The loss drops the Commodores (20-6 overall, 7-3 in the Panhandle Conference) out of a first-place tie with Tallahassee atop the league standings.

The Pirates (16-10, 5-4) kept their postseason hopes alive with the win. Carlos Rosario scored 26 points to lead Pensacola State, with Josh Williams adding 14 points, and Shawndarius Cowart 14 points and seven assists.

Cam Holden led the Commodores with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Jacolbey Owens put in 21 points, six rebounds, and three assists.

Maurice Gordon and Jammy Pierre-Louis scored 10 points each.

Gulf Coast trailed by as much as 18 points in the second half before rallying to cut the margin to five at 80-75 after a three-point play by Owens and an offensive rebound and putback by Holden with 1:45 to play.

Jammy Pierre-Louis had a chance to make it a one-possession game with a clean look from three moments later, but the shot rimmed off and Rosario scored two straight buckets inside to push the lead back out to 85-77 with 40 seconds on the clock.

The Pirates clinched the season series over the Commodores with the win, taking both games on Gulf Coast’s home floor and outscoring GC by 31 points over the three matchups.

“For whatever reason we don’t match up well with them,” Jackson said. “They beat us probably four of the six halves we’ve played them. They’re just a tough team. They have quick guards and when they break the press they go and try to score off of it.”

Gulf Coast could’ve clinched a postseason berth with a victory but instead will have some work to do with two remaining games against Chipola and first-place Tallahassee.

“The Tallahassee game was gonna be a big one either way,” Jackson said. “Now we have to go to Chipola on their Sophomore Night and try to win that game, so we’ve made it more difficult on ourselves. Hopefully we can regroup and put together a good game plan for them.”


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