GC scores season-high in 84-65 win

By Dustin Kent | News Herald Writer | Twitter: @PCNHDustinKent

Published: Monday, December 29, 2014 at 09:12 PM.


PANAMA CITY --  Gulf Coast State came into this week's Holiday Classic with an opportunity to avenge a pair of early-season losses against USC-Salkehatchie and Georgia Perimeter.


One down, one to go.


The Commodores turned the tables on USC-Salkehatchie on Monday with perhaps their best offensive performance of the season, setting a new season-high point total in an 84-65 victory.


Elliott Cole made four of his five 3-pointers in the first half and finished with a game-high 19 points, while Jonathan Wade added 17 points, and Quavius Copeland and Anton Waters scored 13 each for Gulf Coast (12-4).


"It was a good, solid win for us," Commodores coach Jay Powell said.  "Elliott Cole made some big shots in the first half to get us some separation.  After (the Indians) cut it to six in the second half, we decided to put Cobe Goosby on (Indians' leading scorer Carlos Rankins) and he did a great job on him and that helped us get some separation again."


The Commodores made their initial charge in the first half thanks to three 3-pointers by Cole in a 90-second span, as the sophomore hit from the right corner, the right wing, and agains from the left corner to put Gulf Coast up 19-10 and force a timeout by the Indians.


A putback by Waters and a pair of free throws by Copeland completed a 12-0 run to put the Commodores up 23-10, with Cole later adding his fourth three of the half foloowed by a two-point jumper to give Gulf Coast a 17-point edge.


Gulf Coast had its biggest lead of the night after a terrific sequence by Copeland, who scored a transition layup and followed it with an excellent hit-ahead pass to Wade for another score with a foul, with the free throw making it 41-20 with 4:45 to half.


It was 49-35 at the break and 52-35 after a driving bucket by Wade early in the second half, but the Indians fought back with a 10-0 run to get back to within single digits at 52-45 following back-to-back threes from Rankins.


USC-Salkehatchie got to within six after consecutive driving finishes by Rankins and Raheem Freeman made it 62-56 with 8:12 to play.


At 64-58, Cole hit perhaps the biggest shot of the game with a contested 3-pointer against the shot clock with 6:23 remaining, and Copeland followed with a pretty driving layup in traffic to put the Commodores back up 11.


The Indians did not get back to within single digits again, with the Commodores making 7-of-9 free throws down the stretch.


Rankins led USC-Salkehatchie (11-6) with 17 points, with Freeman adding 12.  McGowens also had 11 for the Commodores, who will get another opportunity for payback when they take on a Georgia Perimeter squad that beat them 66-55 on Nov. 15 today at 4 p.m.


"(Playing opponents for a second time) is an opportunity to see our growth and see us elevate our level of play from the first time we played them," Powell said.  "I hope when we leave the gym tomorrow night that we feel the same way we do now."







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