Gulf Coast returns home to face Pensacola State
Posted Feb 7, 2017 at 4:56 PM
By The News Herald
PANAMA CITY - The Gulf Coast men's and women's basketball teams will return to the Billy Harrison Field House Wednesday night for Panhandle Conference action against Pensacola State. The women's game will tip at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men at 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Commodores (23-1 overall, 6-1 in conference) returned to the top spot in the NJCAA rankings in Tuesday's poll and will look to solidify their hold on first place in the league standings with a win over the Lady Pirates (17-6, 2-5).
Gulf Coast is riding a five-game winning streak with only one of those victories - a 78-73 road win over Chipola on Jan. 24 - by a single digit margin. The Lady Commodores' last won 90-76 over Northwest Florida State in Niceville a week ago, with sophomore guard Taylor Emery scoring 21 points for her fourth 20-point effort in Panhandle play.
Emery is averaging 21.4 points against league competition while shooting 48.3 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from the 3-point line, and 86.2 percent from the foul line. Freshman guard Shayla Bennett is averaging 17 points in conference games and shooting 43 percent from the field, 40.6 percent from three, and converting 86.4 percent of her free throws.
The Lady Pirates sport a balanced offensive attack led by point guard Ahyiona Vason, who is putting in 14 points and 4.7 assists per Panhandle game, followed by Nia Johnson with 13.3 points, Autumn Jones with 10.7, Mylashia Yancey with 9.6, and Xana Dove at nine points per game in conference play.
Gulf Coast won the first meeting between the teams 103-83 in Pensacola on Jan. 18.
In the men's game, the Commodores (15-9, 1-6) are looking to get out of sole possession of last place in the Panhandle standings, while the Pirates (12-10, 2-5) try to keep their faint hope of a postseason berth alive.
GC is being led by sophomore Jeremy Harris, who is averaging 13.3 points in Panhandle games, though he is shooting just 30.4 percent from the field and 29 percent from the 3-point line. Dyshane Murphy and Will Robinson are both averaging 11.4 points per game in league play.
Harrison Curry has led the way for the Pirates in conference play, averaging 16.9 points while hitting 45.3 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three. Cameron Allen is adding 12 points and 3.7 assists per game against conference foes.
The Commodores have struggled shooting the ball throughout the conference season, converting just 40.1 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three. The struggles have been just as great at the defensive end, as GC allows Panhandle opponents to shoot 52.1 percent overall and 41.6 percent from the 3-point line. GC is also being outrebounded by 11 per conference game.
The Pirates are shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three in conference play while allowing opponents to shoot 43.1 and 35.2.
Pensacola State won the first meeting 76-69 and can clinch the season series with a victory Wednesday.