Mocs Expect More Drama With ETSU in SoCon Tourney Opener

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Chattanooga-(WDEF-TV) The Chattanooga-ETSU rivalry reached a peak this year. The Mocs won both games on last-second shots — breaking the Bucs ten game winning streak against Chattanooga. The two square off for a third time Saturday in the SoCon Tournament.

Said Mocs head coach Lamont Paris: “Whoever loses is going to go home for the rest of the year, and I don’t think there’s a better motivator than that.”

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Do or die. Nothing new for the Chattanooga-ETSU game this year. The Mocs beat the Bucs twice — but only by two points a piece — two last second points.

Said Paris: “A great way for us both teams to kick off the tournament is playing against each other, particularly in the drama that’s happened in both these other two games. So it definitely adds something to it.”

Said Mocs guard Davie Jean-Baptiste: “Oh man, it’s definitely going to be a fun one, coming from those two games very close to the end, both games last second shots. So it will definitely be another close one. Expect another close one. It’s going to be fun to see coming down to the wire how the game plays out.”

If the first two games taught these teams anything — it’s the value of a single possession.

Said Baptiste: “How delicate each possession is and how important each play is. You can’t take one possession off because if you do it may cost those two points.”

Said ETSU head coach Jason Shay: “It’s going to be a good ball game again. It’s just trying to find those three-four extra possessions that can get us on top.”

Said ETSU forward Silas Adheke: “We should’ve won both games. The first game when they came to Freedom Hall, we didn’t start well. We played awful and we still lost on the buzzer. So we haven’t played our best game yet against them. … We definitely know we’re capable of beating them, but they’ve got the best of us. Hopefully the third time’s the charm.”

The question is, can the Mocs get the best of the Bucs three times in one month?

Said  Paris: “At the front of it, it’s hard to beat a team three times, but it’s hard to flip a coin and get it to be heads ten times in a row also. But after you’ve done nine, all you have to do is do one. So we’ve already beat them twice, so really it just comes down to one game.”

Added Baptiste: “We know it’s going to be a close one. We know it’s going to come down to the wire so it’s going to be down to each possession so each possession, we got to make it count.”

The Mocs and Bucs tip at 2:30pm in Asheville.

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.