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Cole's 3-point barrage leads GC men past Tallahassee

January 13, 2014   16:31 PM

Jason Shoot/News Herald Staff

PANAMA CITY — The 3-point shot is regarded as the great equalizer in basketball.

When the ball is in Elliott Cole’s hands, however, it’s a lot more potent than that.

Gulf Coast’s dynamic point guard buried five 3-pointers in a seven-minute window to obliterate Tallahassee’s seemingly safe lead, and the Commodores stormed back for an 80-72 victory in a Panhandle Conference men’s basketball game Saturday night at the Billy Harrison Field House.

The victory was crucial for GC, which improved to a 1-1 start in conference play and 13-6 overall. The visiting Eagles fell to 11-8 and 0-3.

“Our third game is on the road (at Northwest Florida State), and to go on the road 0-2 would have been a tough predicament,” GC coach Jay Powell said. “I like the composure of this team, I like how hard they play. They don’t have any quit in them. There would have been questions, and they would have been questioning themselves if we had dropped to 0-2.”

GC trailed 56-44 after Tallahassee’s Earvin Morris flushed a dunk with 9½ minutes remaining, but Cole began his torrid shooting stretch with a 3-pointer moments later. Cole and Devon Baulkman caught fire simultaneously, and they scored six and seven points, respectively, in a 13-2 run that turned a nine-point deficit into a 62-60 lead with 5 minutes to play.

Cole knocked down two 3-pointers during that run, and he fired in two more on consecutive trips down the floor to give GC a 74-68 lead with 2 minutes left.


“We called a timeout just before the end of the first half, and in the timeout I got on Elliott,” Powell said. “I said, ‘You’re too good to be second-guessing yourself. You’re starting to understand good shots, bad shots. Go out and make the next one.’ Then he stepped out and knocked it down.

“When he made that, I think he felt in his gut that he belongs, and he knows he had my confidence behind him.”

Basil Deveaux’s floater in the lane gave GC a 76-70 cushion, and he helped out defensively to record a block in the paint on the Eagles’ ensuing possession. Deveaux made one of two free throws with 32 seconds left to extend the Commodores’ lead to 77-70.

Elmo Stephen’s two free throws with 21 seconds remaining closed the gap to 77-72, but Anton Waters knocked down a free throw moments later. Cole capped the scoring with a reverse layin just before the final buzzer.

The Commodores jumped out to a 10-2 lead to start the game, but that advantage didn’t last long. Tallahassee soon took control and eventually led 31-23 before halftime. GC unleashed a 9-0 run to regain the lead briefly before Tallahassee’s Cameron Naylor converted a field goal at the buzzer for a 33-32 edge at the break.

Baulkman finished with 25 points and nine rebounds, and Cole tossed in 20 points. Waters had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Jon Wade chipped in with 10 points.

Morris led Tallahassee with 22 points.

TALLAHASSEE (72)

Williams 4 0-0 9, Dozier 2 2-2 7, Johnson 0 5-6 5, Nottage 0 0-0 0, Thiero 1 1-2 3, Peters 1 0-0 3, Morris 7 5-5 22, Naylor 3 7-10 13, Stephen 1 2-2 5, Porter 2 1-2 5. Totals 21 23-29 72.

GULF COAST (80)

Wade 3 3-6 10, Deveaux 3 1-3 7, Whitaker 0 0-0 0, Cole 7 0-0 20, Turner 0 0-0 0, Miner 1 1-2 4, Baulkman 11 1-3 25, Waters 5 3-4 13, Akande 0 0-0 0, Fishler 0 1-2 1. Totals 30 10-20 80.

Halftime: Tallahassee 33, Gulf Coast 32. Three-point goals: Tallahassee 7 (Morris 3, Williams, Dozier, Peters, Stephen), GC 10 (Cole 6, Baulkman 2, Wade, Miner). Total fouls: Tallahassee 17, GC 20. Fouled out: Fishler.

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