Mocs fly to historic 6-0 start
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs started fast and held on in am 81-63 win over North Georgia Saturday afternoon. It marks six up and six down as the program moves to 6-0 for the first time in the DI era.
Stefan Kenić and Malachi Smith paced four in double figures. Kenić recorded a career-high 23 points, while Smith also had a career-best with 19 points to go with a game-high 13 rebounds. Malik Hardy and Kody Shubert led North Georgia with 13 apiece.
The Mocs took control after an early deficit of 5-4. The good guys went on a 19-0 blitz capped by a strong Kenić post move with 12:07 to go in the half. The advantage rose to as many as 24 heading to the locker room ahead 48-24 on a Jaden Frazier free throw.
The lead reached 30, 60-30, on Jamaal Walker’s steal and layup with 15:43 to go. The two squads traded layups by Kody Shubert and Smith to keep at 30, 62-32, before the Nighthawks began to claw back.
The Nighthawks got as close as 14 late. Caleb Mauldin’s hook with 5:01 remaining cut the gap to 75-61. Kenić ended a three-minute scoring drought with two free throws at 4:05. Smith added two more on the next possession before Prosper Obidiebube finished the scoring with a layup off a nice look from Trey Doomes in the final minute.
Doomes ended up with 11 points, four assists and three steals. A.J. Caldwell chipped in 15 points and seven boards nearly going perfect from the field making six of seven including thee for four from long range.
The Mocs completed this week’s four-game gauntlet 4-0 with previous wins over Northern Kentucky (79-72), at Middle Tennessee (80-70) and at Bellarmine (77-68). The squad gets a quick breather before welcoming UNC Asheville to the Roundhouse for a 7 p.m., Wednesday matchup. Links for video, audio and live stats for each contest is located on the men’s basketball schedule page.
Chattanooga 6-0 | North Georgia 0-0
““Based on David’s deciding to return for his final season, his role on the team, how he was executing it at a high level, our record of success and our personal relationship, I’m stunned by his decision. I can only surmise from our discussions this is a personal choice more than about basketball.” – Lamont Paris pregame statement on David Jean-Baptiste’s decision to enter the NCAA transfer portal
“It’s pretty hard. If you look at this past week, we played four games. Four, five guys played 30-plus minutes and it’s really exhausting. It’s going to stay like that because we only have rotationally, eight players. It’s important to recover after the game, do treatments every day and get our bodies ready.” – Kenić on the physical grind of the week
“Just my teammates getting me in good positions and running our offense. I think it’s knowing when to be aggressive. With me sitting out, I made sure I put a lot of work into my game and get comfortable with the team even though I wasn’t playing.” – Smith on the key to his early season success
Check out all we heard at the link above.
3 NOTES TO KNOW
– 6-0 for fourth time in school history. Did it three years in a row in the early-to-mid 1970s: 7-0 beginnings in 1972-73 and 1974-75 sandwiched the best start of 8-0 in 1973-74.
– 108-1 vs non-DI competition since moving to the highest level in 1977-78. 13-0 vs Peach Belt Conference including 99-63 triumph over Lander in season opener.
– Led for 38:05, the fourth time this year leading by 30 or more minutes with at Middle Tennessee (24:26) and at Tennessee Tech (25:48) as the only outliers.
Check out all the notables at the link above.
3 STATS TO KNOW
– Shot a blistering 66.7 percent (18-27) in the first half before a chilly 36.7 (11-30) over the second 20.
– 25 points off turnovers. Fourth time with 20+ (Lander 27, Northern Kentucky 29 & at Middle Tennessee 22). Averaging 21.0 per game through six.
– Fifth time in six games registering a double-double for Malachi Smith.