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GC women cruise, short-handed men lose 4th straight

By The News Herald

Posted Jan 31, 2018 at 10:24 PM

 

PENSACOLA — The Gulf Coast women’s basketball team solidified its hold on first place in the Panhandle Conference standings Wednesday night, while a severely short-handed Commodore men’s squad fell further into the league cellar.

 

The No. 2 Lady Commodores cruised to an easy 85-66 victory to improve to 6-1 in the conference and 18-2 overall, while the Gulf Coast men fell 62-53 to drop to 1-6 in the Panhandle and 15-9 overall. The Pensacola State women dropped to 1-5 in the conference and 17-5 overall. The Pirate men are now 13-10 on the season and 2-4 in league play.

 

Shayla Bennett led the Lady Commodores with 23 points on 7 of 14 shooing from the field to go with three assists, four rebounds, and five steals. Astou Gaye scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Alexus Dye had 14 points, seven rebounds, and two blocked shots. Kionna Jeter added 13 points and Jhileiya Dunlap scored 12 points.

 

Naterria Luster was the top scorer for the Lady Pirates with 22 points, followed by Nia Johnson with 15, and Mylashia Yancey with 11. Gulf Coast led 21-17 after one quarter and blew the game open with a 14-2 run to start the second quarter. A lefty hook in the lane by Gaye, a putback by Dye, and a 3-pointer from Gaye made it 35-19 Lady Commodores with 6:53 on the clock.

 

Another three from Gaye and a dribble pull-up jumper by Jeter pushed the lead to 20 at 46-26 with 1:43 until halftime. It was an 18-point edge at the break, though Pensacola State cut it to 12 with an 8-2 spurt to start the third quarter. Gulf Coast responded with a baseline jumper from Shay Collins, a steal and layup by Bennett, another layup from Dunlap after another Pensacola State

turnover, and a three-point play by Dye to go up 61-40 with 5:05 left in the third.

 

Gulf Coast took a 71-49 edge into the fourth quarter and the Lady Pirates never got closer than 18 points over the final 10 minutes of action.

 

In the men’s game, Gulf Coast came in without four of their rotation players in Josh Wade, Marlon Adams, Daniel Kiely, and Jordan Thomas, all of whom were sick with the flu. The Commodores played just six players in the game, with Will Robinson, Tyree Gibson, and Myles McGregor all playing 40 minutes. Gulf Coast was still in position to win with a one-point lead with under four minutes remaining, but Pensacola State closed the game with a 10-0 run.

 

Willesly Butler had 16 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Pirates to the win, with Daryl Lewis and Gerald Williams scoring nine points each. Matt Johnson also scored eight points. Robinson led the Commodores with 21 points and six rebounds, with Smith adding 15 points and six rebounds. McGregor scored nine points.

 

Despite the loss, GC coach Jay Powell said he was proud of the effort his players gave under the circumstances.

 

“There have been some games where this group has disappointed me, but tonight wasn’t one of them,” he said. “To play six guys and one of them in Oscar (Eke) who had just played limited minutes ... they gave me all they had. You’re never happy to lose, but they gave Gulf Coast what they had tonight.”

 

The Commodores used an early 12-2 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Quadree Smith to go up 18-10. Pensacola State countered by outscoring the Commodores 16-5 over an eight-minute stretch, with a three-point play by Butler putting the Pirates up 26-23. A three from Lewis in the waning seconds of the first half gave Pensacola State a 31-28 edge at the break, and the Pirates extended their lead to 49-39 with 9:22 left in the game thanks to a 10-3 run capped by a steal and layup by Neino Robinson.

 

Gulf Coast fought its way back into it with a 3-pointer by McGregor and two free throws by Robinson to take a 53-52 lead with 3:31 to play. The Pirates went back up with a putback by Butler, who later added a hook shot in the lane to make it 57-53 with 2:01 to play. A 3-pointer by Williams as the shot clock expired was the dagger shot to put the Pirates up 60-53 with 59.6 seconds to play.

 

Gulf Coast will return to action Wednesday at home against Chipola. Pensacola State next plays Saturday at Chipola.

 

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