Spartans erase Mocs’ nine-point lead, UTC loses, 85-72

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (UTC Athletics) — Sophomore Ramon Vila scored a career-high 18 points in the Chattanooga Mocs 85-72 defeat against UNCG in the Greensboro Coliseum. The Mocs led the majority of the first half before succumbing to a strong Spartans run in the Southern Conference match-up.

Vila was joined in double digits by David Jean-Baptiste, Donovann Toatley and Kevin Easley. Jean-Baptiste totaled 16, one more than Toatley’s 15. Easley added 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

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Isaiah Miller keyed the Spartans with 21 points, five rebounds and six steals. Eric Hamilton chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Kyrin Galloway posted 14, 12 in the second half.

Chattanooga led by as many as nine in the opening 20 minutes. Vila’s free throw with 6:00 set the score at 25-16. The Mocs went without a made field goal over a five-minute spurt as the host flipped the script.

The visitors went 3-6 from the free throw line and turned the ball over four times in that stretch. Miller’s layup with 2:42 to go in the half gave the Spartans the lead for good, 29-28. They took a five-point advantage, 37-32, into intermission.



“For the first part of the game we played better,” Vila shared. “Then they just killed us on the offensive boards and with their pressure. They started to gain more confidence, shots were falling, we were missing free throws and then they took control of the game.”

UNCG scored on seven of the first 10 second-half possessions. The onslaught continued as Miller’s layup off a Mocs turnover extended the lead to 21, 72-51. Chattanooga continued to battle cutting the lead to 12, 68-56, on a Toatley and-1, but it could not piece together enough stops in the second frame to get closer.

Chattanooga stays on the road next weekend in SoCon play. The squad spends the weekend at Western Carolina (Jan. 3) and ETSU (Jan. 5) before returning to the Roundhouse on Saturday, Jan. 12 with a visit from Samford. Tickets are available on GoMocs.com or by calling (423) 266-MOCS (6627).

RECORDS
Chattanooga 6-9/1-1 | UNCG 13-2/2-0

SERIES
24-20 series lead over the Spartans…10-11 in Greensboro…20-17 overall in SoCon regular season affairs.

3 NOTES TO KNOW
Check out the full complement of notes at the link above.
– Attempted just 10 3pt, a season low. Fewest attempts since taking nine, making two, in a win at Wofford on Feb. 2, 2015. Made four of the 10 today.
– The Mocs shot a season-best 52.9 percent from the field making 27 of 51 attempts. Third straight game making 50 percent or better making 51.4 percent (90-175) over that span. The last time the squad made 50 percent or better over three straight was December 2016 against Marshall (58.2%), Tennessee Wesleyan (61.9%) and at Vanderbilt (53.7%).
– Limited UNCG to 38.2 percent (13-34) shooting in the first half but yielded 55.2 percent (16-29) in the second. The Spartans 48 points after the break is the sixth occasion an opponent recorded 45 or more second-half points. It’s happened once in the first 20 (47 at Georgia State).

3 STATS TO KNOW
Check out the full stats at the link above.
– -5 turnover margin with 17 miscues. Also -5 in points off turnovers with 11 compared to UNCG’s 16.
– Grabbed just 25 rebounds, fewest since getting just 17 last February against Mercer.
– 45 combined fouls but with just 44 combined free throws as each team shot 22. Chattanooga made 14 (63.6%), while the Spartans were near perfect at 90.9 percent (20 FTM).

QUOTABLE
Check out all of what we heard at the quotes link above.
“I still think we were tentative. We made some illogical cuts. We have to look at the floor and find the most logical spot to be. Some of them are doing what we’re asking of them. In basketball, sometimes you have to ad lib what you’re doing based on what the defense is doing. We weren’t aggressive enough bringing the ball up and even when we were, we kind of got out of control.” – Coach Lamont Paris on facing pressure defense.

“Our group of guys are a persistent group of guys. We’re always going to fight regardless of score, time of the game left. As long as we keep that attitude and don’t let these losses take our pride and fight away throughout the year, we’ll start to learn how to pull these games out. We’re going to get it.” – Freshman Donovann Toatley.

SOCON SCOREBOARD
Wofford 74, at Western Carolina 54
Longwood 110, at The Citadel 94
Harvard 71, at Mercer 67
at Samford 96, VMI 68
at ETSU 79, Furman 56

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Thursday, Jan. 3: at Western Carolina, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 5: at ETSU, 4 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 12: at Samford, 4:30 p.m. (DH-Women play at 2 p.m.)