CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- Z. Mason, Dontay Hampton, and Ronrico White combined for 62 points to spark the Chattanooga Mocs 91-88 come-from-behind overtime win over Appalachian State in McKenzie Arena Thursday night. UTC trailed by 19 with 6:36 before the ferocious comeback triumph.
Hampton, who tallied a career-high 22 points, capped the furious rally with an NBA-range three-pointer with 18 seconds remaining which sent the game into overtime. The Mocs closed regulation on an 8-1 run after Jay Canty gave the Mountaineers a seven-point cushion, 77-70, with a layup with 1:30 to play.
Chattanooga trailed the entire game. Its first lead was on a Hampton trey with 3:28 to go in the extra stanza putting his squad ahead one, 83-82. Mike Neal had the answer for App with a three of his own for an 85-83 lead.
But the Mocs would not be denied. Drazen Zlovaric tied it up with a jumper in the paint on the ensuing possession. Gee McGhee blocked Canty on the defensive end before Mason put UTC up for good, 87-85, with a layup with two minutes to go.
The lead swelled to four on two White free throws, 89-85, with just over 22 seconds to play. Nathan Healy came up big for the Mountaineers. His trey just seven seconds later cut the margin to one, 89-88.
Hampton stepped to the line with a little more than eight seconds left. He missed both free throws after injuring his hand on the foul play. But the ball went out of bounds off the Mountaineers and White followed calmly sinking two free throws for the 91-88 lead at 6.6 left. Healy’s game-tying effort at the buzzer was off the mark for the Mocs win.
Mason had game highs with 23 points and 11 rebounds, eight coming on the offensive end. White chipped in 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Zlovaric added 10 points and six rebounds.
App State was paced by Healy’s 22 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Tab Hamilton posted 21 points, while Canty added 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The Mountaineers quickly took control of the game after an eight-point halftime lead. Canty made it a 15-point lead, 49-34, with a layup at 15:12. It went to 18, 60-42, on Healy’s trey at 8:48. Healy made it 19, 64-45, with two free throws at 6:36.
It was all UTC from there to the end of regulation. Hampton (11) and Mason (9) combined for 20 points the rest of the way as the efficient group scored on its final 13 possessions.
Zlovaric got the margin under 10 for good with a basket at 4:30. A three-point play the next trip down by White made it a five-point game, 67-62, at 3:50.
Healy drained one of his four treys on the night to stretch the lead back to nine, 75-66. It look to be a dagger shot with 2:10 left, but there was no quit in the scrappy Mocs.
Sam Watson and White scored on back-to-back trips to get it back to a manageable five points, 75-70, at 1:36. Canty’s basket was followed by a three-pointer from Mason and then his layup on the next time down to cut it to two, 77-75. Canty made the second of two free throws with 26 seconds left to set up Hampton’s heroics.
It’s the second straight season Hampton has been the hero at home against App State. He hit the game-winner last year on a coast-to-coast driving layup with 0.8 to play.
In the final six-and-a-half minutes the Mocs grabbed five offensive rebounds to zero defensive for the Mountaineers. Chattanooga ended up winning the rebounding battle 45-39 with a 20-10 advantage on second chance points.
The bench was pivotal out-scoring their guests 31-14 led by Hampton’s 22. Watson added five points and four boards in a reserve role.
The unsung hero was McGhee. He had five rebounds, five assists and two blocks to go with eight points. His defense down the stretch on Canty played a major role in the win.
App State led by 10 early, 28-18 at 9:35, when the Mocs made a run. UTC held its visitors without a field goal for more than five minutes en route to an 11-1 run. Hampton tied the game at 29 at 4:14 with a three-pointer from the left wing on a great feed from McGhee. But that was the Mocs last basket of the first frame. App finished the half on a 9-1 run to take a 38-30 lead into the break.
Chattanooga remains in the Scenic City to host Western Carolina Saturday at 7 p.m.