Mocs Use Strong Second Half to Beat Tennessee Tech 82-65

( COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 30) — The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team rebounded from a slow start with a dominating second half performance to sprint its way to an 82-65 win on the road at Tennessee Tech inside the Eblen Center on Tuesday night in Cookeville, Tennessee.

Trailing 41-35 at the half, Chattanooga out-scored Tennessee Tech 47-24 in the second half and held the home team to just a 33.3% (9-for-27) field goal percentage. UTC improved to 6-1 following the win while TTU fell to 2-5.

“It wasn’t the offense in the first half. The half came to a close on a decent note for what happened,” said head coach Lamont Paris. “I thought we were going to give up 90 points.”

“We settled it down towards the end of the half in conjunction towards what we wanted to do. I don’t know why it happened that way, but it did, and we corrected it.”

Tennessee Tech raced out to a 7-2 lead at the first media timeout (16:00) after connecting on three of its first seven shots from the floor which included a trey. The Golden Eagles extended the lead to 18-8 with 12:02 left in the opening half after hitting on five-straight field goal attempts.

The hot shooting for the home team continued for much of the first half as TTU fired at a 63% (12-for-19) clip to help the lead grow to 28-17 with 7:46 on the board. David Jean-Baptiste nailed a pair of threes during the stretch to keep the Mocs in the game while Silvio De Sousa added seven points and five boards in the early going.

Chattanooga went on a brief 7-0 run to cut the deficit to six at 35-29 with 3:38 remaining in the half before the two teams traded baskets down the stretch to head into the locker room with Tech holding a 41-35 edge. UTC turned the ball over 10 times in the half which led to 18 TTU points.

The Mocs jumped out on an 8-2 run to begin the second half behind threes from Malachi Smith and Jean-Baptiste, and a slam from De Sousa, to tie the game 43-43 at the 17:38 mark. Chattanooga did not let up on the momentum and stretched the run to 26-6 over the first 10 minutes of the half, extending out to a 61-47 lead (9:57). Smith had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting during the span to kick start the rally.

It continued to be all Mocs down the stretch as the lead grew to as much as 21 (78-57) with 2:46 left before the eventual 82-65 final. Smith scored a game-high 28 points, with 21 coming in the second half, on a highly-efficient 11-of-14 shooting. Jean-Baptiste finished with 18 and five assists while De Sousa notched his second double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 boards in 24 minutes of action.

RECORDS – Chattanooga (6-1) – Tennessee Tech (2-5)

SERIES – Chattanooga now trails the all-time series 22-40. UTC has won the last four meetings against TTU.

– Trailed by as many as 13 (15-28, 8:32) in the first half…down 10, 29-39, with 1:40 left before halftime after Chattanooga native Jr. Clay’s layup…out-scored their hosts 36-10 over the next 13:13 to flip it to a 16-point advantage, 65-49, on a thunderous Silvio DeSousa oop off David Jean-Baptiste’s alley…topped TTU 53-26 over final 21:40.

Malachi Smith had 28 points on 11-14 shooting (9-9 2pt/2-5 3pt) and 4-4 at the free throw line…averaged 23.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.5 apg and 1.5 spg steals in the season series shooting 58.6 percent (17-29) from the field, 45.5 percent (5-11) from three and a perfect 7-7 FT vs the Golden Eagles in 2021-22…3rd 20-point effort of the season and one off career-best 29 at Tennessee State last December.

– 2nd double-double of the campaign for Silvio DeSousa…17 points and 11 rebounds…nine of the boards came on the defensive glass…second multi-block game in a row…has seven of the Mocs 15 blocks on the season…15-19 shooting from the field over the last two games (78.9%).

Check out all the notes at the link above.

“It wasn’t the offense in the first half. The half came to a close on a decent note for what happened. I thought we were going to give up 90 points. We settled it down towards the end of the half in conjunction towards what we wanted to do. It wasn’t our offense. I don’t know why it happened that way, but it did and we corrected it. It was just complete utter break downs on our ball screen defense. It was unrecognizable in what we were doing. It happens.” – head coach Lamont Paris on the slow start in the first half.

“Sometimes a loss is needed. I’m not going to say we wanted to lose, but sometimes that loss can refocus your team and reenergize your group. It let us know that every team wants to beat us and we’re going to have that all season. We have to be tested with adversity and we were. That’s going to happen all year long.” – sophomore Malachi Smith on rebounding after Saturday’s loss.

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