After a two-game slide last week, the Southwest Mississippi Community College men were looking to start fresh Monday with a win over visiting Hinds. The Bears got off to a solid start but went cold in the second half, falling 91-80.
“Sometimes bad offense creates bad defense because you have to play right on both ends of the ball,” SMCC head coach Bryan Bender said. “We could not stop them in the first half. They scored 49 points which is the most we have given up.”
Both the Bears (7-5, 6-4 MACCC South) and the Bulldogs (6-0, 6-0) traded emphatic dunks to start the game. The Bears make came from Javius Moore who completed the alley-oop and was fouled, completing the three-point play.
After the Bulldogs quickly re-gained lead, they held on to it until the 14:37 mark when Mykale Carter completed a four-point play giving the Bears a 16-15 advantage.
But once again, Hinds grabbed a slight lead and held on to it for several minutes of play. With about 7:30 to go until half, Carter again hit a big shot for SMCC tying the game at 30.
The tug-of-war continued between both teams who displayed balanced scoring attacks. The majority of the scoring for SMCC came via Mazae Blake as the freshman posted 15 of his team high 27 points in the first half alone.
Jordan Johnson was just as beneficial for the Bulldogs scoring 15 of his 24 during the same time frame.
In continuing the trend of making big shots, Carter once again stepped up for SMCC connecting on a field goal with under a minute to go until the half tying the game at 47. He made his presence known once again early in the second half, knocking down a 3-pointer just 30 seconds in, giving the Bears a 50-49 lead.
For the first few minutes of the half, SMCC was competitive with Hinds, keeping the Bulldogs within striking range. However, with about 14 minutes to go the wheels fell off for the Bears.
Six-straight points from Jalan Bates sparked a 14-2 Hinds run putting the hosts down 73-61.
A short time later, an 8-0 Bulldog run put the Bears in an even deeper hole as the hosts could not slow down both the interior and fast-paced transition scoring threat from Hinds.
The Bulldogs found success inside due to the Bears’ lack of depth at the 4 and 5 positions. Already without a hurt Michael Barber, SMCC lost Nate Hudson earlier in the contest to an injury, and he did not return.
With just over 6:30 to play, the Bears faced their largest deficit of the night at 20 points.
Down the stretch SMCC never quit, getting scores from Carter and Blake to narrow the gap, but it was not enough as the damage had already been done.
Next up for the Bears is a road contest at Jones on Thursday.
“It s a big game on Thursday, (we’re taking this) one day at a time,” Bender said. “We’ll continue to get better and get healthy.”