Mocs lose second straight at VMI

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LEXINGTON, Va. (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs got a career-high 29 points in an 84-79 loss at VMI in Cameron Hall Saturday afternoon. The 29 matched Malachi Smith’s 29 at Tennessee State for the individual high by a Moc this season.

VMI was paced by the trio of Jake Stephens, Greg Parham and Kamdyn Curfman who combined for 67 of their 84 tallied. Stephen and Parham had 25 each, while Curfman added 17. Stefan Kenić scored 19 for Chattanooga with Smith putting together another double-double performance with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

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The Keydets led for a majority of the contest. The Mocs made inroads and got close but every turn was thwarted by VMI on its offensive end of the floor.

“I was really disappointed in our inability to defend,” Coach Lamont Paris summed up.” I couldn’t be any more disappointed to be honest with you. Even at halftime we challenged them. We gave up 37 points and were on track to give up 80, and we gave up 84. I was really disappointed in our defense in a general rule, the entire game really.”

VMI shot 50.9 percent for the game, 58.8 percent from 3pt range. The took their biggest lead of 13, 76-63, with 3:11 to play on two Sean Conway free throws. The Mocs have found a way through late deficits throughout the season, and today appeared to be no exception.

A three-point play followed by a three-point jumper by Jean-Baptiste got the margin to just six, 76-70, with 1:45 to go. A defensive stop followed, and Jean-Baptiste had a good look for three in front of his bench. It came out and the battle for the rebound went out of bounds for the Keydets. They inbounded long to Myles Lewis over the press for the dunk and an eight-point lead with 1:01 to play. It got within four twice, but VMI held off the charge to claim the win.

The Mocs return home Wednesday hosting Samford. The 7 p.m., tipoff features on ESPN+ and over the airwaves in Chattanooga via WFLI 97.7 FM and 1070 AM is you prefer the veteran vocal talent of “Voice of the Mocs” Jim Reynolds. Links for video, audio and live stats for each contest is located on the men’s basketball schedule page.

RECORDS
Chattanooga 9-2/0-2 | VMI 6-5/1-1

QUOTABLE
“During the normal course of the game, I thought we took a couple [bad shots]. I thought we had one huge one where it was a six-point game, and we were on that path, I thought we had pushed that button internally. We came down and took a bad three, missed it long, they rebound it and came down and hit a three and now it’s a nine-point game. I didn’t think that was a demise as a whole, but there was some that were not great shots for sure.” – Coach Lamont Paris

“We struggled defensively today. We allowed them to score 84 points which is way too much. We want to allow opponents around 65 points and that’s 20 more than what we want. We struggled on screens, we didn’t switch well, we didn’t chase well on those screens. We struggled boxing out and allowed them to have a couple big offensive rebounds in the second half after they missed shots. That’s the main reason we lost the game.” – Stefan Kenić

“This is going to test us. This is going to show us if we’re a team that can fight or just quit. I’m confident and have faith in this team to face this adversity head-on. Just as easily as we lost these two games, we can rattle off four or five straight. We can’t look ahead to what it’s going to look like in two weeks, we just have to prepare for the next game and move on. Take it one game at a time.” – Malachi Smith

Check out all we heard at the link above.

3 NOTES TO KNOW
– 10th 9-2 start to a season. The last was 2015-16 opening 13-2.
– The loss snaps the Mocs 7-game road winning streak. It tied the school record originally set Jan. 20, 1992 through Nov. 27, 1992. It was the seventh longest run of road triumphs in the nation entering today.
– David Jean-Baptiste Casey Long (2004-07) and Keith Nelson (1991-92) into 30th al-time in scoring with 1,062. That puts him eight behind Johnny Taylor’s (1996-97) 1,070.

Check out all the notables at the link above.

3 STATS TO KNOW
– One key stat entering today came at the 3pt arc where the Mocs led the SoCon in 3pt percentage defense (27.1%) allowing 4.6 made per game. VMI was third in 3pt percentage (37.5) and second in 3pt made per game (11.3) averaging 13.1 more attempts per game (30.1) than the Mocs usually allow (17.0). Only gave up 17 attempts, but the 58.8 percent conversion rate was the problem.
– There were two lead changes and four ties with the Mocs leading for just 13 seconds today.
– +7 in turnover margin (5/12) led to 11-4 advantage in points off turnovers.

Take a deeper dive into the numbers at the link above.

SERIES
– Chattanooga leads the all-time series 46-15. All 61 meetings have come with both schools as members of the Southern Conference.
– 41-13 in regular season meetings, 19-9 in Lexington. 4-3 under Lamont Paris, 2-2 at VMI.
– 9-4 against the Keydets since their re-entry into the SoCon in 2014-15 including a 5-2 record in Cameron Hall.

SOCON SCOREBOARD
at Furman 83, Mercer 80
ETSU at UNC Greensboro 5 p.m.
Samford at Wofford, 7 p.m.
Citadel at Western Carolina, PPD

NEXT 3 OPPONENTS
Jan. 6: Samford, 7 p.m. | Current Record: 6-3/1-0 | Next Opp: Wofford (Jan. 2)
Jan. 9: at The Citadel, 1 p.m. | Current Record: 7-0/0-0 | Next Opp: at Mercer (Jan. 6)
Jan. 13: Mercer, 7 p.m. | Current Record: 7-3/0-2 | Next Up: The Citadel (Jan. 2)

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."