David Jean Baptiste Becomes Mocs 3-Point King in 75-67 Win Over Wofford

(gomocs.com) SPARTANBURG, S.C. (January 5) — The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team battled its way to a physical 75-67 Southern Conference road victory at Wofford inside the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium on Wednesday night in Spartanburg, S.C.

Malachi Smith scored a game-high 24 points while David Jean-Baptiste became the school’s all-time career three-point field goal leader behind five threes to help Chattanooga improve to 12-3 overall and 2-0 in the SoCon. Following the loss, Wofford moves to 8-6 overall and 0-2 in the league.

“Especially in some of these road games. This league, any league really, it has got so darn competitive and it’s unbelievable. It’s a good thing, but there’s some nights I wish it wasn’t always like this,” head coach Lamont Paris laughed postgame.

“The guys really responded …. I’m happy for them. It’s a big-time road win against a good team who expects to win in this building.”

HOW IT HAPPENED
Chattanooga started the game with an 8-0 run out of the gate, seeing a pair of threes knocked down from Malachi Smith which followed a Darius Banks layup just five seconds into the game. After a David Jean-Baptiste three and subsequent layup, the Mocs led 13-5 at the first media timeout at 15:09.

UTC continued its quick start after Grant Ledford connected on the team’s fourth three in the game’s first 10 minutes ahead of a Smith two-point jumper to preserve the lead, 22-15 with 11:04 left in the opening half. Wofford would hold Chattanooga scoreless over the next seven-plus minutes and go on 10-0 run to take the lead 25-22 with 3:55 on the board.

After Avery Diggs hit one of two free throws to end the drought, Wofford built a 30-23 lead at the 3:03 mark before a ferocious end to the half from the visitors. UTC ended the opening half on a 9-0 run after creating six turnovers in the final three minutes to take a 32-30 lead into the break on a Banks dunk with eight seconds left.

Both teams shot 42.9% (12-of-28) from the field in the opening 20 minutes while the hosts held a slight advantage on the glass at 18-15. Smith (10) and Jean-Baptiste (8) led the scoring in the half and added a combined five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

UTC jumped out in the second half with five quick points on the help of a Smith layup and Jean-Baptiste trey and grabbed a 37-30 lead with 18:27 left in the game. Wofford responded with 11 of the game’s next 18 points to cut the Chattanooga lead to three, 44-41 at the under 12 media (11:41).

Locked in a physical affair, the two teams went back-and-forth with multiple lose balls and tough-nosed rebounds shaping the landscape. Back-to-back Smith three balls allowed UTC to take a 50-44 lead (10:09) before a Wofford layup brought it to 50-46 (7:50) at the under eight.

The lead grew to eight, 57-49, after AJ Caldwell nailed his first and only three of the game at the 6:17 mark. After Wofford cut the lead to three, 59-56 (4:18), Chattanooga went on an 8-1 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to build a 67-58 edge with just under two minutes left in the game (1:40). UTC closed the game out after a Jean-Baptiste three-point dagger made it 70-61 (0:53) ahead of the eventual 75-67 final.

Smith led all scorers with 24 points and filled the stat sheet with five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Jean-Baptiste followed with 17 points (6-11 FG, 5-9 3P) while adding four assists. Banks went for 12 points and collected four assists and three rebounds.

For the game, the Mocs shot 48.1% (25-for-52) from the field and knocked down 12 threes at a 44.4% (12-of-27) clip. UTC was dominated on the boards, 34-23, and in second chance points, 18-2, but forced 15 Wofford turnovers that turned into 15 points.

Categories: Sports – Local Sports News, Sports – UTC Mocs