ASHEVILLE, N.C. (UTC Athletics) — They say all good things must come to an end. The Chattanooga Mocs fell 63-53 to ETSU today in Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville. It’s a tough finish for a program that overcame a season’s worth of change considering it did not field the same lineup in more than five straight games.
BREAKING: Both Malachi Smith and Darius Banks will NOT play for @GoMocsMBB vs. ETSU in the SoCon Tournament today, a source confirmed.
Smith said on Instagram that he is in contact tracing protocol. He’s the Mocs leading scorer and first team All-SoCon.@BarstoolMocs
— Angela Moryan (@SidelineStormer) March 6, 2021
This one got off to a great start leading by as much as 11-2 before the Bucs stormed back to take a 23-21 lead into the break. It was 27-all when a quick 10-0 spurt made it look like a runaway early in the second half.
The Mocs clawed back cutting the lead to one, 48-47, on Jamaal Walker’s three with 4:15 to go. Damari Monsanto answered with a three of his own and after back-to-back David Sloan baskets, the deficit was eight again with just over a minute to go. Those scores sandwiched this Walker finish in traffic.
— Chattanooga Mocs MBB (@GoMocsMBB) March 6, 2021
Walker scored yet again in the paint with 44 seconds to go to make it a six-point affair. After a turnover, the ball moved around enough to get Walker open for three in the corner. It just rimmed out. The Mocs got a second chance on the offensive boards, but David Jean-Baptiste’s three was also off the mark as the Chattanooga chances ticked away.
Walker led the way with 16 points. Stefan Kenic added 11 to the cause with A.J. Caldwell grabbing a team-best eight rebounds. Monsanto registered 18 points and 10 rebounds with another 17 coming from Sloan.
Barring a postseason invitation, the Mocs season ends. It was the 33rd time in the last 51 years, along with six of the past eight, the program won 18 or more games.
Chattanooga 18-8 | ETSU 13-11
3 NOTES TO KNOW
– The Mocs played without first team All-SoCon performer Malachi Smith and starting forward Darius Banks due to COVID-related issues.
– 33rd time in the last 51 seasons (since 1970) with 18 or more wins…18 or more victories in six of last eight years.
– Chattanooga swept the regular season series win wins at Johnson City and in the Scenic City. The regular season has not split between the two since 1997.
Check out all the notables at the link above.
3 STATS TO KNOW
– The Bucs led for 21:06 today after being ahead 0.07% of the prior two matchups in the regular season (34 seconds).
– Walker’s 16 points was one shy of his career high set at The Citadel in January. He started in place of Malachi Smith.
– Chattanooga shot just 32.1 percent for the contest. The Mocs went 3-3 this season when shooting less than 40 percent.