Jake Stephens Pours in 35 Points as Mocs Defeat Western Carolina 95-76

(gomocs.com)

CHATTANOOGA – The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team used another strong performance from big man Jake Stephens to help notch a key 95-76 Southern Conference victory over a streaking Western Carolina team on Wednesday night inside McKenzie Arena.

Following the win, Chattanooga has won back-to-back games for the first time since December 10-15 to improve to 11-7 overall and 3-2 in SoCon play. WCU sees its three-game win streak snapped as they drop to 10-8 overall and 3-2 inside the league.

Chattanooga scored a season-high 95 points and used the most points in the paint (42) and third-most bench points (23) of the year to help pull away from a back-and-forth battle early on. The Mocs tied a season-high 24 free throws and converted on a season-best 22 two-point field goals in the win.

“So many guys gave such great efforts tonight and really had an effect on the game,” said head coach Dan Earl.

“When you do things like make free throws, produce 14 assists to just six turnovers, especially against a team like that who defends so well, I’m just proud of these guys. Especially against a really confident team in Western Carolina.”

Stephens finished the game with 35 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to pick up his 11th double-double of the season. It marked his second-straight 30-plus points, 10-plus rebounds performance and fourth of the year.

Demetrius Davis (13), Jamal Johnson (12) and Dalvin White (12) all reached double figures in scoring as the trio combined to post a +35 +/- rating in a strong defensive effort. Randy Brady provided seven points off the bench and finished a team-best +20 in 17 minutes of floor time.HOW IT HAPPENEDBoth teams came out flying in the early going as Western Carolina grabbed a 13-8 lead at the first media timeout (14:34) behind a 5-of-8 shooting start from the floor. The Catamounts continued to attack inside the arc and held a 20-14 edge with 11:58 left in the opening half.

Chattanooga found a spark on offense and rolled its way to a 13-4 run to pull ahead 27-24 (7:20) and force the visitors into a timeout. The Mocs pushed the lead to double digits, 44-34 (0:54), before the two teams went into the break separated by seven, 46-39.

UTC held a six-point advantage at the first media timeout of the second half, 55-49 (15:37), before the hosts opened up their biggest lead of the game, 69-51 (11:46), behind a 10-0 spurt. The lead grew to as much as 21 down the stretch before the Mocs capped off the 95-76 victory in front of 3,009 fans.RECORDS/SERIES – Chattanooga 11-7, 3-2 SoCon · Western Carolina 10-8, 3-2 SoCon · Series: Chattanooga now leads the series 70-30.NOTES TO KNOW– The Mocs converted on a season-high 22 two-point field goal attempts… finished 31-of-51 (60.8%) from the floor… best FG% this season… best FG% against a SoCon opponent since shooting 66.7% (34-of-51) against Georgia Southern on March 5, 2010.

– Chattanooga finished the game 9-of-21 (42.9%) from three… improve to 7-0 this season when shooting 40.0% or better from three… just the fifth time this season making 10 or less threes… first win over a DI opponent this season with less than 10.

– UTC scored 42 points in the paint… most against a DI opponent this season… earned a 42-36 edge in that category… earned a 23-6 edge in points off the bench… third-most points off the bench against a DI opponent this season.QUOTESRandy Brady on seeing more minutes.“Coach Earl loves when you play hard. So, if you get out there and play hard, rebound, make the right play, get on the floor for loose balls, that’s how you stay on the court.”NEXT UP – at Samford – Saturday, Jan. 14 – 6:00 p.m. ET – Birmingham, Ala. – ESPNU

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