Mocs men lead by nine, then collapse to UNCG

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs were in the pole position down the stretch but could not hold off UNC Greensboro in a 74-66 loss. It came down to a burst at the end for the Spartans.

Darius Banks led all scorers with 18 points. David Jean-Baptiste had 13 points and five assists, while Malachi Smith scored 12 to go with six rebounds. Angelo Allegri paced UNCG with 17 as Jarrett Hensley tallied 12 off the bench.

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A thunderous Banks dunk gave the Mocs their largest lead of nine, 57-48, with 7:50 left in the game. He blew by his defender and powered through the help side to seemingly put an exclamation point on the matinee affair.

The Spartans responded in a big way scoring on their next 11 possessions. That 26-7 run over seven minutes of clock time completely flipped the scoreboard to 74-64 inside a minute to go. KC Hankton scored on the offensive glass with 29.6 remaining.

“We made a run, we got to that point, and they responded,” Coach Lamont Paris noted. “You just can’t have an elongated run like that. It’s basketball, it’s a game of runs. You have to be able to stop the bleeding.

“You have to make it happen, manufacture it sometimes. Defensive rebounds do that a lot of the time.”

The Mocs pressed and forced an Isaiah Miller turnover with 25 seconds on the clock. Hankton’s ensuing three was off the mark, Miller rebounded and the Spartans dribbled out the clock for the win.

Chattanooga got misses on the defensive end but couldn’t turn them into stops on the defensive end. The 15 offensive rebounds by UNCG ties a season high for an opponent in 2020-21 and led to 20 second chance points.

“We didn’t rebound well as a team and that’s frustrating because we knew coming in they were a good rebounding team and we didn’t stick to the game plan,” Banks shared in the postgame press conference. “I think that’s the most frustrating part of today. It was so much of an instance that we went over it for an hour, just offensive rebounding. I guess you can do stuff in practice, but you have to apply it in the game. The game is what matters. We failed to do that today.”

Chattanooga hits the road for the next three starting Wednesday night at ETSU. The 7 p.m., tipoff is on ESPN+ and over the airwaves in Chattanooga via WFLI 97.7 FM and 1070 AM. Links for video, audio and live stats for each contest is located on the men’s basketball schedule page.

RECORDS
Chattanooga 12-5/3-5 | UNCG 10-5/5-2

QUOTABLE
“We gave up too many offensive rebounds and second chance points, at some point you have to stop that. You work hard on defense, or you get lucky on defense, whatever, they miss, and your job is to corral the rebound and then the possession is over. We didn’t do that. I thought we played fairly well, and competed at a high level, for majority of the game. It’s disappointing to not come out with a win.” – Coach Lamont Paris

“It was the same thing as Wofford. They got three offensive rebounds and hit threes. That’s what happens when you give them three and four opportunities. We were up and then we couldn’t get defensive rebounds and empty possessions.” – Malachi Smith

“I felt like I was more aggressive and felt like the team needed me to be more aggressive. That was an aggressive team we were playing, and you can’t take any possession off and be soft.” – Darius Banks

Check out all we heard at the link above.

3 NOTES TO KNOW
– Darius Banks extended his FT streak to 16 straight to open his career. That’s the third longest on the Mocs squad this season behind David Jean-Baptiste (20) and Stefan Kenić (19). He made all six attempts today passing Kenić (15), Malachi Smith (12) & Smith (11). There have been seven double-digit FT runs this season.
– David Jean-Baptiste moved into 18th all-time in scoring with 1,155 points. He passed Stanford Strickland ’84 (1,153) and sits two points behind 16th-place David Phillips ’00 (1,157).
– Jean-Baptiste’s three 3pt gives him 174 which is tied for fourth in program history with Tim Parker ’03. He’s now 17 behind Eric Robertson for third and 26 away from becoming just the third Moc to drain 200 or more for a career.

Check out all the notables at the link above.

3 STATS TO KNOW
– The Mocs entered the day first in the league in defensive rebound percentage (.768) with UNCG on top in offensive rebound percentage (.352). The Spartans won that battle and it keyed their win going +16 in second chance points (20-4) grabbing 15 offensive rebounds.
– UNCG scored 26 of their 74 points in the final 7:27. They were on a pace for 59 points. The Mocs are 9-0 this season and 24-4 over the last two when limiting opponents below the 70 threshold.
– The Spartans entered the contest forcing nearly 16 turnovers per game. The Mocs recorded only nine, tied for their third fewest of the campaign.

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

SERIES
Meetings: 49
Record: 26-23 (15-8 home)
SoCon Regular Season: 21-20 (13-8 home)

SOCON SCOREBOARD
VMI at Mercer, 2 pm.
Furman at ETSU, 4 p.m.
Western Carolina at Wofford, 7 p.m.
The Citadel at Samford, PPD

NEXT 3 OPPONENTS
Jan. 27: at ETSU, 7 p.m. | Current Record: 8-5/4-1 | Next Opp: Chattanooga (Jan. 27)
Jan. 30: at Furman, Noon | Current Record: 10-4/4-1 | Next Opp: UNCG (Jan. 25)
Feb. 3: at Western Carolina, 7 p.m. | Current Record: 7-6/0-4 | Next Opp: at The Citadel (Jan. 27)

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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."