Mocs Drop 76-74 Heart-Breaker at Vanderbilt
(GOMOCS.COM)NASHVILLE—A late three-pointer by Luke Kornet propelled Vanderbilt (6-5) past the Chattanooga Mocs (8-3) Saturday night in Memorial Gymnasium. Kornet’s triple came with 2.9 to play in the game.
The Mocs led for a majority of the game and went up back up one, 74-73, on Casey Jones’ jumper with 1:12 to play. Both teams traded stops before a foul with just over 10 seconds to play sent Greg Pryor to the free throw for the one-and-bonus. He missed the front end.
“We really felt like we deserved to win the game, we played well enough to win,” Coach Matt McCall shared. “We came in wanting to out-rebound and defend the perimeter and we did both. Free throw shooting really made the difference. Even then, we still had a chance to win the game with Pryor on the line at the end. He’s the guy you want on the line during those situations and I know he’ll be there again at some point down the line.
“And he’ll convert, I guarantee it. We had a chance to beat a good SEC team on the road in a great environment and a couple bounces just didn’t go our way.”
The Mocs called timeout to set up a play after Kornet’s shot. They got the ball inbounds and up the floor, but the buzzer sounded before Tre’ McLean’s could get his effort off.”
Jones led five Mocs in double digits with 16 points on the night scoring 14 in the second half. Justin Tuoyo and Greg Pryor had 12 apiece, Johnathan Burroughs-Cook 11 and McLean 10. Tuoyo’s nine rebounds were a game high with seven coming on the offensive end.
Kornet and Matthew Fisher-Davis tied for game-high honors with 18 each. Jeff Roberson tallied 11, while Joe Toye chipped in 10 off the bench. In the end, a spectacular Vandy performance at the free throw line turned out to be the difference. It set new season highs for free throws made (26) and percentage (89.7%) missing just three of 29 opportunities.
“It hurts because you look at the stat sheet and it shows we probably deserved to win this game,” McCall concluded. “You look at the free throw disadvantage for us, and that was really what made the difference between a win and a loss.”
The Commodores built an early lead and was up three, 30-27 on two Fisher-Davis free throws with 4:48 until the break. UTC scored six straight to take a three-point advantage on Burroughs-Cook jumper at 2:20. It was a four-point halftime lead, 38-34, on a Tuoyo tip-in with 22 seconds to go.
The Mocs took control in the second half. The lead reached its apex of nine, 62-53, on two Makinde London free throws with just over nine-and-a-half minutes to play.
Vandy chipped away at the lead cutting it to three on two Riley LaChance free throws at 6:38. It twice rose to five on a fantastic tip-in by Tuoyo and again on a ferocious slam by London. But LaChance made two more free throws and then a 3pt to know the score at 68-all at 4:02. It was point-counterpoint from that point on.