Mocs men fight for overtime win against Troy

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs claimed the season series sweep with a dramatic come-from-behind 84-80 win in overtime over Troy. The Mocs won the first meeting in somewhat similar fashion, 74-68, at Trojan Arena on Nov. 12.

This time around they came back from seven down in the second half. It was five, 72-67, at the 2:53 mark after back-to-back threes from Desmond Williams and Ty Gordon answered a basket from Ramon Vila and free throws by Matt Ryan.

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If it looked bleak, it didn’t show on the Mocs bench or unit on the floor.

“These guys have shown that they are resilient in a lot of different ways,” Coach Lamont Paris shared afterward. “It seems like we coach one way, then say the next time something happens, we have to play that certain thing better. Then they come down and make another; they hit a big three. We just talked about the things you need to do to win in the last couple minutes of a game.

“Guys just kept coming back, and coming back, and making plays. We finally made some shots when we needed to.”

It was Ryan’s turn. He nailed back-to-back treys book-ending a Gordon free throw to know the game at 73 all with 1:57 to go. Ryan ended up tying his career high of 23 points while also leading the team in rebounds (7), assists (3) and steals (2).

It was lockdown on both ends after that. Troy had the ball under its basket with 4.0 on the clock. The in-bounds pass went to Darian Adams, who tallied 19 points and six assists, but he landed out-of-bounds with 3.6 to play. The Mocs went back to Ryan who split the defense just passed midcourt. His 35-footer just caromed out, but momentum had shifted.

“We had to come back late in the game and right when regulation ended, we came in the huddle and we knew we had all the momentum,” Ryan noted. “We knew that team didn’t want to be in overtime, and that we wanted to be there because of how we played. We saw some shots go in. We were riding that momentum wave into overtime and the guys made some plays for us to win.”

Ryan scored first in the extra period followed by two Ramon Vila scores, the latter an emphatic slam. As the clock drifted inside a minute to go, Williams scored two of his team-high 20 points to cut it to two, 79-77. The Mocs worked the offense. The ball went left to David Jean-Baptiste in front of press row. He skipped it across to A.J. Caldwell for a dramatic three-ball making it an 82-77 game. Jonathan Scott hit two late free throws before Williams ended the scoring with his third triple of the day.

“We have a feeling that we’re a good team,” Ryan added. “Our record (7-5) isn’t the greatest, but we think we’re much better than what that says. By continuing to get better over this break, getting better every day at practice, I think we’re on the right path with where we’re going.”

The Mocs complete the pre-holiday schedule on the road at UNC Asheville next Saturday. They return to the Roundhouse after the break on Sunday, Dec. 29, for a double-header with the women’s team. Donate two canned food items at the gate to replenish the Chattanooga Area Food Bank and get buy one, get one free tickets. The guys host Cumberland before the ladies take on Ohio.

RECORDS
Chattanooga 7-5 | Troy 4-7

QUOTABLE
“I think it sums it up. They have the spirit of a fighter, and I believe that. We have some things that we’re getting better at from a basketball side of things, but they have the spirit of a fighter. These guys refuse to pack it in and ride off into the sunset. I think it’s a really good indicator of the fight in these guys. Our guys showed great spirit tonight.” – Coach Paris on tonight’s overall effort and relation to the team’s identity

“Mostly everybody stood up and everyone was together on that. Dave [Jean-Baptiste] made a really good skip pass and my feet were ready to shoot. I shot it with confidence, and at this time last year, I don’t think I would have made that shot. The development and everyone’s confidence in me has been great for me.” – Caldwell on crucial 3pt

Check out all we heard at the link above.

3 NOTES TO KNOW
– The Mocs trailed at the half of both contests with the Trojans this season. Troy held a 80-63 advantage in first half points, Mocs owned a 95-68 margin in the second 20.
– Last overtime game was 80-76 loss at Samford last season (Feb. 16). Last on in the Roundhouse? That would be the epic double overtime 87-85 triumph over UNCG on Jan. 29, 2018.
– Third second-half comeback this season: 7 (27-34 at 16:27) against Tennessee State in the second game followed the next time out by the 14-point (27-41 at 19:50) turnaround at Troy.
Check out all the notables at the link above.

3 STATS TO KNOW
– Both teams struggled to keep the opposition off the offensive boards with 36 percent (27 of 75) of the total rebounds coming at that end. The Mocs had a season-high 16, while the Trojans, who collected 16 in the first matchup, had 11. Chattanooga maintained a 14-8 advantage in second chance points.
– There were 12 ties and 11 lead changes over the course of 45 minutes. The Mocs led for just 8:36 (19.1%) total but stayed ahead for all but 58 seconds of the extra period.
– Chattanooga shot 42.2 percent for the game, 32.3 percent from three, while Troy made 49.2 percent overall, 40 percent at the 3pt line. UTC entered the game just 1-4 when the opposition out-shot it.
Take a deeper dive into the numbers at the link above.

MBB UPCOMING GAMES
Dec. 21: at UNC Asheville | Current Rec.: 5-4 | Next Opp: Stetson (Dec. 17)
Dec. 29: Cumberland | Current Rec.: 9-4 | Next Opp: Martin Methodist (Dec. 16)
Jan. 4: at Mercer | Current Rec.: 4-6 | Next Opp: at UNCW (Dec. 16)

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."