PANAMA CITY, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - The Gulf Coast men's basketball team is feeling perhaps a new sense of optimism three games into the conference season.
Coach Jay Powell and his Commodores lost their first two Panhandle games against Tallahassee and then Northwest Florida.
Saturday night, they found themselves down by eight at the half on the home floor against Pensacola.
Thanks to some timely shots made on the other end, the Commodores were able to rally for a 59-57 win, getting themselves that first "W" in conference play.
"Saturday was a good win for us," Jay Powell, Gulf Coast men's basketball coach said. "I feel like the men needed to have that feeling again of success, and getting the job done through competition and continuing to compete for 40 minutes. So hopefully that'll catapult us after those first couple of games where we didn't play very tough. We didn't play very well."
What helped the 'dores get this win was a switch on defense. They focused on playing zone, holding Pensacola to 36 fewer points than they've averaged in their first two conference games.
"We did that, we've never had to do it before, but our guys have proven not quite tough enough to play good solid man to man, against Panhandle level talent," Powell said. "And Pensacola shot (coming in) in the low 30's, high 20's three point percentage. Then of course we come out and they made 8 3's in the first half against us. It was tempting to get away from the game plan but we went ahead and stuck with it. And in the end, it ended up paying off."
Powell and his team get to savor that win and spend more time preparing for their next game on Saturday in Marianna against the 1-1 Chipola Indians.
"We'll see how this week of preparation goes for Chipola on Saturday night," Powell said. "Hopefully the men will stay focused and refine some of things that we didn't do well even in the Pensacola game. And be ready to go."
Again, the 'dores have off until Saturday when they travel to take on Chipola at 7:30.
Before hosting the 'dores, the Indians play at Pensacola Wednesday at 7:30.
The undefeated Northwest Florida Raiders are hosting TCC Wednesday at 7:30.