Mocs men fall short against Mercer, 85-80

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs could not get over the hump Saturday evening against the Mercer Bears in an 85-80 Southern Conference loss. Mercer built a lead, the Mocs roared back. But in the end, it wasn’t enough.

It was a 10-point advantage, 50-40, when Chattanooga made it’s move. Trey Doomes three-point play sparked a 7-0 run culminating in a Ramon Vila free throw at 11:46. The Bears answered with three straight scoring trips to get it back to eight in just 60 second.

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Back-to-back David Jean-Baptiste scores preceded a Vila put back for a 2-point deficit.

Jeff Gary responded with a three before Kamar Robertson’s layup to take the lead safely back to seven. It reached 11 and was a nine-point spread heading into the final minute, but the Mocs did not go quietly into that good night.



Jean-Baptiste and Doomes sandwiched an Ethan Stair one-and-one free throw miss. That cut it to five which is where it basically stayed until Jean-Baptiste struck again with 2.7 to play with a three making it 83-80. The Mocs pressure forced the Bears to take their final timeout trying to inbound the ball. Out of the timeout, Patrick Urey hit Stair streaking deep into the front court for the final score.

The normally solid work on the defensive glass failed the Mocs today allowing 11 offensive boards resulting in 18 second chance points.

“You can’t give up 18 second chance points,” Coach Lamont Paris shared. “Somebody keeps telling me where we rank on our percentage of rebounds that we give up when a team misses against us, I don’t know, but I didn’t see it today, that’s for sure.

“The biggest thing is that we just couldn’t get a stop. We gave up 85, but we were on track to give up 80 at the half. We had this speech at halftime about what we need to do. We’re going to score enough points, but defensively we’ve got to do better.”

Jean-Baptiste led the way with 20. Vila tallied 18 followed by Matt Ryan’s 16. Doomes registered 13 points, six rebounds and two assists off the bench. Maciej Bender and Gary paced the Bears with 17. Robertson had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Congratulations are in order for Ryan scoring his 1,000th career point today. More on the below, but it came on a three-point play which just seems appropriate.

There’re just two games remaining in the regular season. The Mocs head to VMI Wednesday before return Saturday for senior day hosting UNC Greensboro. Next Saturday has a lucrative vibe. One fortunate soul gets a challenge to win $25,000.

The innovative “pick-a-spot” promotion makes its first appearance in the Roundhouse. The contestant picks one spot, anywhere on the court, to shoot for the $25k. The catch is they take two shots, one at each goal. Make them both, and they’re the stuff of legends.

Ticket offers abound as well. Not only is it Sequatchie County Day with $10 lower level seats for our friends and neighbors there, it’s also Leap Year Day. Fans can purchase Two, 300 level General Admission tickets for ONLY $9 or they can also purchase 4 Lower Level seats for ONLY $29. There’s also the new “All You Can Eat” option.

RECORDS
Chattanooga 17-12/8-8 | Mercer 15-14/9-7

QUOTABLE
” A couple 50-50 balls, a couple 50-50 calls that didn’t go our way, too, but Mercer has been playing well, so they’re a tough, competitive group. They keep at it, and they compete.” – Coach Lamont Paris on the bounces

“Second chance points were big. They got a lot of offensive boards and 18 points out of it is pretty bad actually, and they also hit some big shots later in the game when we were trying to make a comeback. They made a couple step-back threes that usually don’t go in, and that pretty much killed us..” – Junior Ramon Vila

Check out all we heard at the link above.

3 NOTES TO KNOW
– Matt Ryan scored his 1,000th collegiate point today. It came on a 3pt play, but you kind of knew three points would be involved. He’s scored 456 at Chattanooga to go with 316 at Notre Dame (2016-17) and 235 at Vanderbilt (2019).
– It’s the 73rd meeting between the two schools, but just the 12th in SoCon play with Mercer joining the league for the 2014-15 season. Chattanooga trails 34-39 all-time with a 6-6 mark in regular season conference play.
– The Mocs held a moment of silence for former center Stanley Lawrence. Lawrence was killed on Wednesday in his home in the Atlanta area. The Jesup Giant played from 1980-83 helping the program to the first three of its 11 Southern Conference Championships and trips to the NCAA Tournament including the first tourney victory in 1982 over N.C. State, the year before it won its national championship. He was the school’s all-time blocks leader with 132 for 33 seasons before Justin Tuoyo broke the mark in 2016. He was 58 years old.
Check out all the notables at the link above.

3 STATS TO KNOW
– Mercer’s 18 second chance points tie a season high by opponents previous done at Virginia Tech and at UNC Greensboro. The Mocs entered the game leading the SoCon in defensive rebound percentage (.771). It was just .667 today with the Bears collecting 11 offensive rebounds.
– 51 second half points nets back-to-back second halves topping the 50 mark. Chattanooga scored 50 or more in a half six time, four after intermission.
– Mercer shot exactly 50 percent in both 20-minute frames. Eight time the Mocs have allowed 50 percent or better by an opponent and are 2-6 in those contests. It was the third instance in McKenzie Arena (0-3).
Take a deeper dive into the numbers at the link above.

SOCON SCOREBOARD
at Furman 67, Wofford 66
UNCG 71, at VMI 68
ETSU 80, at Samford 74
The Citadel at Western Carolina, 7:30 p.m. | Live Stats

MBB UPCOMING GAMES
Feb. 26: at VMI, 7 p.m. | Current Rec.: 8-21/3-13 | Next Opp: Chattanooga (Feb. 26)
Feb. 29: UNC Greensboro (DH), 4:30 p.m. | Current Rec.: 23-6/13-3 | Next Opp: Furman (Feb. 26)
March 6-9: Ingles SoCon Championships presented by General Shale at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville

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