"It was one of those games where the good things outweighed the bad," NMCC head coach Travis Day said. "Us being young in some key spots you saw the maturity where we stopped doing what got us the lead.
"As a coaching staff we know that's going to happen, so we're hoping as the year goes along that we mature and we won't have those lows in a game."
Early in the contest it looked like the Eagles might run away before the half as the opened up on a dominant 13-0 run in four minutes.
Once they got going with a basket in the paint, however, the Zebras were able to slowly chip away at NMCC's lead.
Thanks to a pair of late 3-pointers in the first frame, Pine Bluff was able to close to within eight points of the Eagles to start the second quarter.
The Zebras went on to outscore NMCC 14-9 in the final eight minutes of the half to go into the locker room only trailing 27-24.
After trailing 32-27 early in the third quarter, Pine Bluff made a quick push to take their only lead of the night.
After a basket from Mikeal Walker pushed the Eagles' lead to five points, a put-back from the Zebras' Quintavious Walker started an 8-2 run that had Pine Bluff ahead 35-34 with 3:32 left in the frame.
NMCC quickly regained the lead with another bucket from Walker, who had 10 points in the frame, but couldn't shake the Zebras as they held a 41-20 edge going into the final 12 seconds of the half.
"That was that immaturity where we stopped attacking with our defense," Day said about allowing Pine Bluff to catch up. "We stopped attacking with our offense as well. We started settling for the long shots instead of attacking the paint and getting those shots that we want to get."
Just when it looked like the two teams would go into the final frame deadlocked, NMCC took advantage of a pair of Pine Bluff turnovers to put together a five-point, 12-second run that put the Eagles back in the driver's seat.
It started with a steal by Walker, who passed to Willie Jimmerson for a three-point play thanks to a Pine Bluff foul on his shot.
Another steal on the Zebra's final possession of the quarter led to a basket by Walker to put NMCC up 46-40 entering the fourth.
With momentum in hand, the Eagles slowly started to pull away once again. Jimmerson provided NMCC with 13 points in the fourth quarter, helping his team stretch their lead to 57-43 midway through the frame.
Pine Bluff was able to close back to within nine before three-straight baskets by the Eagles gave them their largest lead of the night, at 63-48, with 2:23 to play.
"Coming back in the fourth quarter we started being ourselves pressing hard, hard man to man," Day said. "They'd shoot the ball and we'd get the rebound and try to see if we could get a layup before they can turn around.
"When we start doing that, that's when success happens for us."
With 29 points on the contest, Jimmerson led all comers scoring 19 in the second half alone.
Walker was second on the team with 13 points and Armondo Thatch had 11.
The Zebras' effort was led by Darren Kee with 26 points while Michael Sission and Quintavious Walker finished with seven and six points respectively.
Pine Bluff 10 14 16 11 - 51
NMCC 18 9 19 17 - 63
PINE BLUFF (51) -- Jalon Pulliam 1, Martino Green 1, Marcus Thomas 5, Quintavious Walker 6, Darren Kee 26, Ervin Jones 5, Michael Sission 7. FG 19, FT 9-26, F 19. (3-pointers: Thomas 1, Kee 3. Fouled out: none.)
NMCC (63) -- Willie Jimmerson 29, Armondo Thatch 11, Mikeal Walker 13, Delontre Haney 5, TJ Clark 1, Asten Newsom 1, Devon Harrell 3. FG 29, FT 7-21, F 20. (3-pointers: Jimmerson 2, Thatch 4, Walker 1. Fouled out: none.)