(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA—The Chattanooga Mocs jumped out early and never looked back in a 72-59 win over Wofford Wednesday night in McKenzie Arena. David Jean-Baptiste led the way with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Matt Ryan and Ramon Vila also reach double figures with 17 and 14, respectively. Rod Johnson matched Jean-Baptiste for game-high honors on the boards with six. Nathan Hoover paced the visitors with 20.
The Mocs scored the first 10 points of the game going early and often to Vila on the block. His play opened the perimeter as the good guys hit seven of their 10 threes in the first 20 minutes building a 23-point halftime advantage, 43-20.
The onslaught continued after intermission. Vila’s layup off a nice high-post feed from Johnson extended the advantage to 30, 51-21. The Terriers began to chip away cutting it to 51-31 on Trevor Stumpe’s three with 15:40 to go.
Chattanooga answered with three straight layups from A.J. Caldwell, Stefan Kenić and Vila to get back to a 26-point lead.
The Terriers continued the fight. Ryan Larson’s three with 8:45 to go got it inside 20 for the first time since 35-18 in the opening frame. Hoover hit a three followed by a Chevez Goodwin dunk. Six straight empty possessions saw the lead dwindle to 12.
Maurice Commander drilled a three to stop the bleeding. Ryan and Jean-Baptiste followed suit getting it back to 18, 70-52, with 3:00 to go cruising the rest of the way to the win.
“Confidence breeds more confidence and playing well breeds confidence,” Coach Lamont Paris shared afterwards. “I think our energy has been really high, in the last couple games particularly, but even before that. That is represented in our defense and what we’ve been able to do.
“I think our energy has been really good; it’s started on the defensive end then trickled to the offensive end, but it started in practice. Both our practices in preparation for this game the past couple days were great.
“They’re playing really hard, they’re playing for each other, they’re extremely coachable. It’s just a fun group to be around, and I enjoy coaching every day.”
The schedule weaves between Chattanooga and the road for the next two weeks with three-in-four away from the Roundhouse’s friendly confines. It starts with a trip to UNC Greensboro Saturday before coming home next Wednesday to host The Citadel (Jan. 22). The squad heads back out for the next two at ETSU (Jan. 25) and Samford (Jan. 29).
Chattanooga 12-6/3-2 | Wofford 11-7/3-2
” I think the ball is popping a bit more; we have less catch and hold and seeing what’s going on. We’ve got a lot of quick moves, getting in and getting out of our situation, making the decision if it’s time to attack or not, then moving the ball if it’s not. I think that’s been a big part of it. We’ve been more productive around the basket, too. I think that’s part of it, when you’re effective around the basket. I think all that stuff together has helped, and also that they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.” – Coach Paris on what’s different with the offense
“They are a tough-minded team. They have extremely good competitors and good shooters. They have good big men. They beat UNCG, North Carolina, they have some really big wins this year.” – Vila on the feeling of a win over a tough league opponent
“When we’re moving the ball, playing with each other, it’s fun to do it. When everyone plays hard and when we play our hardest on the defensive end, that’s when you know we’re at our best. We’re moving rebounding, boxing out, talking to each other on defense. It’s special to be a part of it.” – Jean-Baptiste on when the team plays its best
3 NOTES TO KNOW
- It was a hot-shooting home stand topping 50 percent in all three games. The Mocs shot 53.4 percent (95-178) overall including 46.6 percent (34-73) beyond the arc.
- Limited Wofford to just 20 first half points. That’s the fewest for an opponent since 14 by Alabama State on Nov. 20, 2017. Fewest for the Terriers against the Mocs since 18 in the 56-46 win at Wofford on Feb. 12, 2015.
- +12 on the glass (38-26) is the largest margin against a DI opponent since +26 against Samford on Jan. 24, 2018. It’s the seventh straight game leading the battle of the boards; the longest run since seven in a row midway through the 2016-17 season. 10-1 when out-rebounding the opposition this season.