Kids Pack McKenzie Arena to See Mocs Blow Out Covenant College
(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA — In front of the largest crowd since 2009, the Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team raced its way to a dominating 100-39 win over Covenant College on Tuesday afternoon inside McKenzie Arena. 8,910 were on hand as part of Hamilton County Literacy Day.
Following the victory, Chattanooga improves to 5-0 this season and extends its non-conference win streak to 17 games and home non-conference win streak to 16. Covenant stays at 4-1 this year as this game was played as an exhibition for the NCAA Division III members.
“You never know a game is going to go like that. We had times like that. In the first half, if you’re not mature about how you handle it, the game can look different. The guys were really, really mature with how they handled the game especially when we got up,” said head coach Lamont Paris.
“That’s a very difficult thing to do, as a player or a coach. We didn’t have any slippage and I thought we were very mature.”
Chattanooga raced out to a 16-7 lead early on behind eight quick points from Silvio De Sousa. The Mocs continued to apply the pressure and went up 26-7 with 10:47 in the first half behind threes from AJ Caldwell, Malachi Smith and David Jean-Baptiste.
UTC would roll on a 15-6 run to extend out to a 41-13 lead from that point and saw buckets from eight different players during the first half stretch. Josh Ayeni scored the half’s final five points including a buzzer-beating three to send the hosts to the locker room up by a commanding 48-16 margin.
Chattanooga opened the second half with a flurry of dunks from De Sousa and Darius Banks to open up a 62-23 lead with 15:08 on the clock. The Mocs defense continued to be pesky and the offense was efficient in the second half as the lead continued to grow, eventually finalizing at 100-39 on a Ledford three ball.
UTC featured six guys in double digits with Ledford leading the way with a game and a career-high 18 points. Smith, Ayeni and De Sousa all finished with 14 while Banks and Diggs added 13 points each in the victory. Ayeni completed the double-double with 10 boards ahead of quality glass efforts from De Sousa (9), Smith (6) and Ledford (6). Chattanooga out-scored Covenant 48-12 in the paint and posted a 45-15 advantage in points off the bench in addition to a 24-2 edge in points off turnovers.
NOTES TO KNOW
– Largest crowd at the Roundhouse since 9,234 came to the Davidson game on Jan. 28, 2009…special thanks to all 7,000 of the 3rd-5th graders joining us from Hamilton County schools providing an exceptional decibel level & serenading the adults with SpongeBob SquarePants.
– 39 points are the fewest allowed since Nov. 21, 2011 giving up 36 that night to Warren Wilson (the school not the person)… 16 first half points for the Scots are the fewest allowed in a half since 14 by Alabama State on Nov. 20, 2017.
– Grant Ledford led six in double figures with a game-high 18 points…6-10 from the field and 4-7 from 3pt range while make 2-3 at the free throw line… Josh Ayeni claimed a double-double, his first as a Moc, with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 15:30 of playing time.
“It was incredible. Absolutely incredible. I wish we could do it every game. They had so much life and energy. How awesome is that? I want to thank the Hamilton County school board and our people here for helping set this up. Those kids were so awesome. We had 7,200 at VCU and I didn’t feel anything. You could feel it today. It was a different life. I’ve heard so much feedback on that specifically [player interactions in schools]. I’ve had five or six times where people have reached out to me about the fact that their child interacted with our player at school, and now suddenly that guy is their favorite player. The impact it has on young kids is tremendous. What a great thing. It’s awesome and it makes me happy.” – Lamont Paris on today’s crowd.
“It was amazing. Hearing those kids and the excitement in their voices. It was awesome. It vaulted us to a great victory. Covenant is a really good team who plays hard. We came out with an overwhelming victory and the excitement from the kids brought that to us. Having that excitement and energy from the kids, it gave us what we needed to win.” – David Jean-Baptiste on the kids coming out today.