Vila, Jean-Baptiste shine as Mocs advance to SoCon semis

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs used a strong second half to shoot past UNC Greensboro 78-68 advancing to the semifinals of the Ingles Southern Conference Tournament presented by General Shale. The Mocs trailed by as many as 14 in the first half and eight in the second for the win.

Ramon Vila had his first career 20&10 night with 22 points and 12 boards as 15 and seven of those came in the final 20. David Jean-Baptiste added 21, while Jonathan Scott chipped in 10. Isaiah Miller had 17 to pace the Spartans. James Dick had 12 points and 11 rebounds as Kaleb Hunter scored 13.

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The Mocs made runs at UNCG but couldn’t get over the hump for a large portion of the second half. They’d get within one or two, then the Spartans would get a little cushion. Malik Massey answered a Jean-Baptiste layup with 11:50 to go for a 57-54 lead.

Chattanooga took over from there. Vila started a 10-0 run with this and-1 to tie it for the first time since 0-0.



The Spartans went more than six minutes without a point as the Mocs surged to a seven-point advantage, 64-57. Dickey’s layup stopped the bleeding at 5:48, but Vila added another three-point play before Jean-Baptiste went coast-to-coast to get the lead to 10, 69-59.

Keyshaun Langley drilled a three and Miller scored on consecutive possessions to cut the lead to three, 69-66, at 3:35. Jean-Baptiste answered Miller with back-to-back layups to take the margin back to seven. His lone 3pt attempt of the night sealed the Spartans fate just a minute later.

The Mocs move on to their 24th SoCon semifinal appearance Sunday night against FURMAN/WOFFORD. Game time is 6:30 p.m., in the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville and can be viewed on ESPN+ as well as listened to on WFLI 1070 AM/97.7 FM via the incomparable tones of “Voice of the Mocs” Jim Reynolds.

RECORDS
Chattanooga 20-12 | UNC Greensboro 23-9

QUOTABLE
“I tip my hat off to our guys. I thought they did a really good job at some of the little things and competing and being very aggressive against a very good team. I can’t be happier for our guys and prouder for our guys with the way they competed, and I thought that was the biggest difference in the game.” – Coach Lamont Paris

“For us as a team, we were competing to the end. We were finishing plays and finishing possessions. We just need to keep playing hard and keep being aggressive.” – Junior David Jean-Baptiste
Check out all we heard at the link above.

3 NOTES TO KNOW
– 20th 20-win season, first since school-record 29 wins in 2016…clinched the 56th winning record all-time on Feb. 19 at The Citadel (91-68)…32nd of the DI era (43 campaigns).
– The Mocs are getting hot at the right time…winners of three in a row, four of five and six of the last eight.
– On the ninth of David Jean-Baptiste’s 21 points, he became the third Moc to top 400 points this season joining Matt Ryan (491) and Ramon Vila (422). They’re the first trio since 1991-92 to accomplish that feat.

Check out all the notables at the link above.

3 STATS TO KNOW
– Ramon Vila entered the game ranked ninth in the nation in FG percentage making 62.2 percent…shot 56.3 percent (9-16) tonight. It was the sixth time this season with nine or FG made in a game.
– The Mocs were limited to a season-low four threes made. It was the first time in 111 games Chattanooga won hitting four or less with the last occasion coming in a Jan. 11, 2017 win over The Citadel at home (83-73).
– +9 in rebounding margin grabbing 40 to UNCG’s 31…entered the contest -7 for the season on the boards against the Spartans.
Take a deeper dive into the numbers at the link above.

SOCON SCOREBOARD
No. 1 ETSU 70, No. 9 VMI 57
No. 5 Western Carolina 70, No. 4 Mercer 56
No. 7 Wofford 77, No. 2 Furman 68