(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA—Junior Ramon Vila’s 17 points led five Chattanooga Mocs in double figures in tonight’s 92-69 triumph over The Citadel in McKenzie Arena Wednesday night. He and his amigos broke open a 12-point halftime margin to cruise to the Southern Conference victory.
Matt Ryan’s three-pointer at the buzzer sent the Mocs into intermission ahead 52-40. The Mocs came out of the break on fire. They scored on eight of their first nine possessions resulting in a 17-2 spurt to jump out to a 69-42 lead capped by an A.J. Caldwell three.
Derek Webster, Jr., got it back to a 24-point margin, 76-52, with a layup at 11:09. Chattanooga answered with a Caldwell layup and David Jean-Baptiste triple as the lead reached its zenith at 29, 81-52. Two Trey Doomes free throws and a Grant Ledford layup pushed it back to 29 late before a flurry of Bulldog baskets ended it at 23, 92-69.
Joining Vila in double figures were Ryan and Jean-Baptiste with 12, while Caldwell and Stefan Kenić each tallied 11 off the bench. Kaiden Rice had 11 to pace The Citadel.
“Yeah, Coach [Paris] told us that they’re a team that plays great in and out of transition,” Caldwell explained when asked about the importance of the quick start to the second frame. “They play fast, and they score a lot of points. The game they played against NC State, NC State was up 20 or 25 points, and all of the sudden it was 10 points because they can score so quickly.
“For us to have that 12-point lead and kind of squash the bug and get up from there was big.”
Coach Lamont Paris definitely saw something he liked in the second half.
“In the second half, we had such a good defensive effort,” Paris offered. “We held them to 29 in the second half and that’s with 11 points scored in the last three minutes with substitutions. We shot the ball well, ran a good offense.
“I thought we did a really good job of chasing over their screens on some of their good shooters. It made us more disciplined. I thought our whole defensive makeup was much better in the second half.”
The Mocs are back on the road for the next two making shorts trips to ETSU Saturday and Samford next Wednesday. They’re back in the Roundhouse on Saturday, Feb. 1, hosting Western Carolina.