Mocs men hold off UNCG on Senior Day

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Chattanooga Mocs earned a hard-fought 74-72 win over UNC Greensboro in the regular season finale today in McKenzie Arena. Ramon Vila’s career night spurred the victory.

Vila scored 21 points, tying for game-high honors with UNCG’s Kaleb Hunter, to go with career highs of five steals and three blocks. Matt Ryan added 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds for the Mocs, while Isaiah Miller chipped in 16 with seven assists for the Spartans.

The odd stat of all odd stats occurred this afternoon. In a two-point game, there was just one lead change and three ties. The Mocs trailed by 11, 33-22, with 6:02 left in the first half. Jonathan Scott triggered an 18-4 run to the break with this triple setting up his defender in spectacular fashion.

Not to be out done, David Jean-Baptiste closed out the half finishing Trey Doomes’ steal with a three of his own providing the lead change.

That doesn’t mean the second half was drama free. The Spartans tied it at 53 and 56-all on three-pointers by Michael Hueitt, Jr., and Hunter with the latter coming at 10:53. The Mocs answered with Maurice Commander’s three followed by a Vila layup to get the cushion back to five, 61-56. It reached eight on Ryan’s third triple of the game, 72-64, with 2:18 on the clock.

If there was a sigh of relief, it didn’t last long. Kyrin Galloway hit a three followed by two Jean-Baptiste free throws at 1:40. Those were the final points for the Mocs. Miller scored on three straight trips to slice the margin to two, 74-72.

Chattanooga struggled to inbounds after the final Miller layup. A 30-second timeout was followed by safe entry and move into the frontcourt. They worked the clock into a Jean-Baptiste three attempt which came off. The Spartans quickly moved into the frontcourt and called time.

Inside eight seconds, the ball moved into Miller’s hands. He came downhill off the screen and attacked. Vila’s barrier was just enough to thwart his effort as the ball rolled off the rim. It was tipped into the corner and the buzzer went off before another shot could be taken.

“It was pretty obvious at that point, Miller was going to get it,” Vila began. “I think he blew by Dave [chuckling].”

Ryan picked it up from there, “It was a hand off and he went downhill on you. We might’ve gotten a little lucky. We gave them a chance. I had that travel, and we kept giving up easy layups. As Coach Paris would say, the basketball gods were on our side tonight. The ball just slid off the rim.”

Vila responded, “I just swatted that thing into the corner.” Ryan added, “I didn’t even hear the buzzer go off.”

Coach Lamont Paris was quick to add why Ryan struggled to hear the game expired.

“That was fun wasn’t it,” he began talking about the atmosphere. “Everyone had fun in there. I never hear the fans too much. I’m just so focused and locked in during a game, it has to be special for me to notice. It was alive and electric in there in a game that was basically meaningless as it pertains for seedings next week when we get them again [in Asheville].”

The Mocs open the postseason with a familiar face. They take on UNCG at 8:30 p.m., next Saturday in the Ingles Southern Conference Championships presented by General Shale quarterfinals. They tournament takes place in the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville and can be viewed on ESPN+ as well as listened to on WFLI 1070 AM/97.7 FM via the velvety tones of “Voice of the Mocs” Jim Reynolds.

RECORDS
Chattanooga 19-12/10-8 | UNC Greensboro 23-8/13-5

QUOTABLE
“I’ve never seen us that active. We’ve played better games shooting the ball, but it’s not even close to how active and competitive we were today. Just a mano y mano situation. It was just good ole elbow grease and effort.” – Coach Lamont Paris

“Coach emphasized playing hard defense and communicate…very talkative. Reese [Maurice Commander] did an extraordinary job. I’ve never seen him be as active and talkative on the court as he was today. He was like a captain navigating us extremely well.” – Junior Ramon Vila

Check out all we heard at the link above.

3 NOTES TO KNOW
– Mocs are 12-0 this season when making 10 or more threes. Hit it on the number today making 50 percent (10-20).
– 27th in school history with 19 or more wins. 25th time in 43 seasons with 10 or more victories in Southern Conference play.
– Milestone game for a couple of Mocs. David Jean-Baptiste scored his 900th point and 200th assist. He now has 901 points and 203 dimes. Ramon Vila tallied his 700th career point. Including 87 as a freshman at Arizona State, he has 713 total.
Check out all the notables at the link above.

3 STATS TO KNOW
– +1 in turnover margin (11-12). UNCG entered the game leading the country in the stat by a 6.73 margin per game.
– 10th straight game with multiple 3pt for Matt Ryan after he went 3-8 today. That’s tied with Maurio Hanson ’95 and Omar Wattad ’12 for the fourth-longest streak in school history.
– 74 points for the Mocs is 11.7 points better than the Spartans SoCon-leading scoring defense (62.3) coming into today.
Take a deeper dive into the numbers at the link above.

SOCON SCOREBOARD
at ETSU 68, Western Carolina 67
at Furman 82, The Citadel 58
at Mercer 59, Wofford 47
at Samford 84, VMI 78

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

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