Mocs men lose upset in final minutes

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (UTC Athletics) — Second-half turnovers plagued the Chattanooga Mocs in a 71-67 loss at Wofford Saturday night. Nine of the squad’s 13 miscues came in the final 20 minutes.

“We turned the ball over too many times and you can’t do that,” Coach Lamont Paris explained. “We were good on the offensive end. Our quality of shot was very high. You can’t take nine possessions and forfeit those in the second half. You give up too many possessions.”

The Mocs got a big boost from the return of Makinde London and James Lewis, Jr. London led the squad with 20, while Lewis added 12 points and a team-best six rebounds. Nat Dixon chipped in 17, while Rodney Chatman had 10 points and nine assists.

Fletcher Magee led all scorers with 26 for the Terriers. Nathan Hoover pitched in 16 as Trevor Stumpe and Matthew Pegram each had 10. Stumpe grabbed a game-high seven boards.

Chattanooga was in control early. Makale Foreman capped a 10-0 run with 4:24 left in the opening half for a 25-14 advantage. The Mocs defense limited the prolific Terriers offense without a field goal for more than six minutes before Pegram stopped the spurt with a short jumper at 3:58.

London and Foreman sandwiched a Magee jumper to keep the lead in double digits, 31-21, inside of two minute until intermission. Two missed shots by the Mocs were offset by three defensive stops as the visitors from Gig City looked for the final shot. A turnover led to an ending dunk for Pegram to make it an eight-point game, 31-23, at the break.

The Terriers came out of the break hot. Stumpe tied it 36-all, with a three-point play at 16:11. Pegram gave his squad their first lead since early in the game with a baby hook at 14:23, 40-38. It was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way.

The Mocs jumped back up by six, 61-55, on two London free throws at 4:38. Magee hit back-to-back triples followed by a Hoover layup with 2:49 to play. Magee drilled another three with 2:16 left capping an 11-0 spurt for the 66-61 advantage.

London sliced the margin back to just two, 66-64, with a layup around the 30-second mark. Wofford made five of six from the free throw line down the stretch to escape with the win.

It was an impressive defensive performance. The Terriers entered the contest leading the nation in 3pt shooting at 45.0 percent. They were limited to just 26.9 percent (7-26) tonight, Neither team was good from beyond the arc as the Mocs went six-for-21, 28.6 percent.

“We did a good job [defensively],” Paris added. “A couple of miscommunications that led to some things. It was chess match, we did one thing and they counteracted it. We countered their counter on the next possession. The next couple possession we didn’t match them.

“It was a good game. It was probably entertaining to watch. We played good enough to win. Unfortunately, it means nothing.”

ON THE RECORD
Chattanooga: 6-14, 0-7 in the SoCon – Wofford: 14-5, 5-1

THE SERIES
Meeting: 38th
Overall: 23-15
In Spartanburg: 9-10
SoCon Regular Season: 20-14
Last 10: 6-4

3 NOTES TO KNOW
View complete notes package from tonight at the notes link above. Three to know…
– First game in Wofford’s new Richardson Indoor Stadium…9-9 at the old Benjamin Johnson Arena winning the final four meetings there.
– First action since Dec. 23 for James Lewis, Jr. Makinde London back after three games away. Both due to injury.
– 32 bench points today are a season high for Chattanooga against a DI opponent…just 33 in the previous seven contests dating back to the Georgia State game.

QUOTABLE
Access thoughts on tonight’s game at the quotes link above.

“We still have a couple guys in high minutes. Makale [Foreman] did such a good job on Magee, so I didn’t want to switch that up. It was nice that we had options down the bench again. If guys found themselves in foul trouble, then you could get them out. That was helpful. I thought the end of the first half we didn’t finish that well. We should have went in up 10 at worst. It’s a big-time momentum switch.” – Paris on added depth and end of first half.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Check out the full box score at the link above. Here are three notable numbers…
– Turnover margin was even with both teams recording 13. Nine of the Mocs miscues came in the second half. 15 points for the Terriers off those nine second-half turnovers.
– 57.5 percent (19-33) shooting INSIDE the arc, 28.6 percent (6-21) beyond it for the Mocs.
– 13-2 advantage in second chance points for the Mocs despite three fewer offensive boards (8/11).

SOCON SCOREBOARD
at VMI 88, The Citadel 81
at ETSU 66, Western Carolina 50
at Furman 78, Samford 67
at UNCG 70, Mercer 66 (OT)

COMING UP
The Mocs return home hosting three in a row at McKenzie Arena. It starts Wednesday, Jan. 24, with a visit from Samford. The 7 p.m., tipoff broadcasts on ESPN3.

For the complete schedule, go here on GoMocs.com.

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

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