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GC knocks off No. 15 Daytona State, moves to 4-0

PANAMA CITY — Going into the week, Gulf Coast coach Phil Gaffney presented his players with both a challenge and an opportunity.

The challenge was facing three games against nationally-ranked teams over two weekends, and the opportunity was to win those games and become nationally-ranked themselves.

Two down, one to go.

Gulf Coast (4-0) took its second big win in the last three days on Saturday afternoon at the Billy Harrison Field House, following up Thursday’s 105-84 victory over Georgia Highlands by knocking off No. 15 Daytona State 84-75.

The Commodores will next take on No. 4 Indian Hills on Thursday in Niceville, though they’ve likely already done enough to earn a spot in the next NJCAA top 25 poll.

“We pointed to this weekend and next weekend and said we’re gonna know by Thanksgiving where we stand,” Gaffney said following Saturday’s win. “To beat these guys, they’re super talented and loaded on paper, they’ve got great talent and (Daytona State coach) Martin (McCann) does a great job with them, we’re very fortunate to get the win.

“Our offense was not where we want it. We made mistake after mistake, but we made a couple of big runs and gutted it out today.”

The Commodores had to survive for most of the first half without top scorer Cam Holden, who picked up two early fouls and played just over three of the first 20 minutes.

Gulf Coast still managed to jump out to a 33-19 lead on the strength of a 12-2 run capped by a corner 3-pointer from Jammy Pierre-Louis with 5:46 on the clock.
The Commodores went ice cold for the rest of the half, however, scoring just two more points while watching the Falcons score 17 and take the lead on a half-court bank shot by Issad Solano as time expired.

Daytona State continued its push early in the second half with a dunk by Adong Makuoi, a layup by Dante Moses after a GC turnover, and an offensive rebound and putback by Issa Muhammad capping a 30-10 surge that left the Falcons ahead 49-43.

The Commodores answered with an 11-0 run, with Grant Howard’s 3-pointer putting them back up for good at 52-49 before Holden scored in transition to make it a five-point game with 11:17 remaining.
A four-point play by Pierre-Louis extended the Gulf Coast advantage to 10 at 66-56, with Maurice Gordon dunking a lob pass from Jacolbey Owens and scoring on a putback to push the margin to 13, and Pierre-Louis adding another triple to give Gulf Coast its biggest lead at 76-60 with 5:26 to play.

Owens put the exclamation point on the victory with a thunderous one-handed dunk in traffic to make it 81-68 with three minutes to go.
Holden finished with 15 points and seven rebounds to lead the Commodores, while KK Godwin added 14 points and four assists, and Gordon 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Pierre-Louis added 14 points on 3 of 4 shooting from deep, with Howard making 3 of 7 from three for his 12 points.

“We didn’t have our ‘A’ game,” Gaffney said. “But in life you don’t always have your ‘A’ game, so you better grind it out and play hard, keep working, be positive, and keep your head down. That’s what we had to do.”

 

 

 

 

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