(gomocs.com) LEXINGTON, Va.—The Chattanooga Mocs built a big second half lead and then held on at the end in a 71-64 triumph at VMI. Matt Ryan’s 18 points led a quarter of Mocs in double figures.
Maurice Commander joined him with 15 points, with Trey Doomes adding 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Ramon Vila chipped in 12 points and seven boards as Ryan led the rebound effort with eight. Sean Conway paced the home team with 15 points off the bench.
The Mocs led 37-20 at the break. VMI scored the first six points before the Mocs steadied. The lead reached 19, 50-31, on two Trey Doomes free throws. The Keydets surged again scoring eight in a row to get with 12, 50-38, on a Louis Tang layup.
“I had to call timeout in that stretch even though I wanted them to play through it,” Coach Lamont Paris noted on the First Bank postgame radio show. “It exposed some stuff on our end for sure. It was all about how can we respond. There were some areas that we failed in tonight, quite frankly.
“To get through some of those situations, that’s good experience. I’ve always said that, if you can draw up every win as a close win, it helps your team’s growth.”
Paris got the response he wanted. Eight straight Mocs points included this big Commander three.
The lead reached 20 first on a Jean-Baptiste drive into the paint and again the next possession on a Commander layup. Leading 60-40 with 6:20, Chattanooga could put it on cruise control. Not so fast.
Back-to-back Tang layups got the margin to nine heading into the final minute. It got interesting from there with the Mocs making just five of eight free throws in the final stretch as the Keydets scored on six straight possessions but six would be as close as it would get helped by this Commander to Doomes hook up on the break.
The regular season finale is Saturday afternoon hosting UNC Greensboro for Senior Day.