Mocs Shoot Incredible 80 Percent in Second Half to Rally For Win Over Tennessee Tech
(gomocs.com) COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team used a dominant second-half performance on both sides of the floor to capture its second-straight win after defeating Tennessee Tech 81-74 on Wednesday night inside the Eblen Center in Cookeville, Tenn.
Following the win, Chattanooga improves to 4-3 on the season and pulls north of .500 for the first time. Tennessee Tech drops to 3-5 this year after the loss.
Trailing by 11 at the break, the Mocs used a lethal shooting and defensive attack in the final 20 minutes to help erase the deficit. UTC shot 80.0% (12-of-15) from the floor including a 77.8% (7-of-9) mark from deep in the second half while holding TTU to 31.4% (11-of-35) and 14.3% (1-of-7) marks, respectively,
“We’re still figuring out a lot of things, whether it’s the lineup, how deep we are, how we can play, all that good stuff. It was a poor first half and allowed them to shoot the three, they were feeling good about themselves and I don’t think we did a good enough job defensively,” said head coach Dan Earl.
“I give a ton of credit to Tennessee Tech. This was a very scary team because they do a lot of things well. For us to respond, it shows some toughness and grit. It was a great response from our guys.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Jake Stephens accounted for seven points in the game’s first four-plus minutes to match a hot-shooting start from Tennessee Tech, allowing for a 10-10 tie at the first media timeout (15:53). The scoring continued from both teams as UTC took a 22-19 (11:08) lead following a Randy Brady three on the left wing.
The Golden Eagles opened up a four-point lead, 31-27 (6:56), after rolling on a 7-0 run while holding the Mocs scoreless for nearly three minutes. The hosts continued its run to close the first half and took a 45-34 lead into the break after shooting 77.8% (7-of-9) from deep and 55.2% (16-of-29) from the floor in total.
Chattanooga found its stroke from behind the arc to kick-start an early second half surge as the squad knocked down four of its first five attempts to cut the deficit to three, 49-46 (15:46), and force TTU into a timeout. The Mocs and Golden Eagles continued to go back-and-forth with the score separated by three, 55-52 (11:55), in favor of TTU.
UTC clawed its way back into the lead for the first time since the 9:22 mark in the first half (27-24) when Stephens scored seven quick points to bring the score to 65-64 (6:30). The Mocs would hold the lead the rest of the way as they closed out the 81-74 victory.
Stephens led all scorers with his second-straight 27-point performance while also notching his third-straight double-double behind a 10-rebound effort. He also added six assists and two blocks in the win. Dalvin White connected on a season-high five threes and ended with 17 points.
RECORDS/SERIES – Chattanooga 4-3 · Tennessee Tech 3-5 · Tennessee Tech leads the all-time series 40-23.
NOTES TO KNOW
– Chattanooga improved to 4-3 following the 81-74 victory over Tennessee Tech… first road win of the 2022-23 season… first time north of .500 this season.
– Chattanooga finished with just one offensive rebound in the win… lowest mark in a win in program history… lowest mark since zero back on January 27, 1996 in a 69-59 loss at Furman.
– Jake Stephens finished with 27 points for the second-straight game… added 10 rebounds and six assists… first Moc to record consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound games since Z. Mason in 2014.
Dalvin White on defense turning to offense.
“We try to focus more on the defensive end. Once we get it down on the defensive end, the offense will click. We just try to stay focused and once we get momentum a little bit, it creates a rhythm for us.”
Coach Earl on the team’s response in the second half.
“I think it shows a little of intestinal fortitude, grit and fight to come back in the second half and play much better defensively and offensively. I give a ton of credit to Tennessee Tech. This was a very scary team because they do a lot of things well. For us to respond, it shows some toughness and grit. It was a great response from our guys.”
NEXT UP – at Gardner-Webb – Saturday, Dec. 3 – 12:00 p.m. ET – Boiling Springs, N.C.