RADFORD, Va. (UTC) -- Chattanooga dug itself an early hole before charging late, but ultimately fell 89-78 at Radford Monday night. The Highlanders led by as many as 25 in the second half before the Mocs cut it within 10 in the final minutes.
Greg Pryor and Gee McGhee each had 17 to pace the Mocs (1-1). Eric Robertson added 13 off the bench with five rebounds and three steals.
"We never got into rhythm in the first half," said head coach Will Wade, who suffered his first loss as a head coach. "We were able to get into the rhythm in the second half and played really well, but we didn't attack enough to score. In the first half, we weren't able to set our press, but when we did in the second half, it gave them fits, and we were able to come back and play really well.
"We just didn't get off to a good start."
It didn't help that Pryor and Z Mason were slowed by early foul trouble. While the true freshman point guard rallied, Mason was limited to just seven points in 21 minutes.
It was a fast and furious start for the Highlanders in their home opener. Jalen Carruthers' slam dunk with 14:26 to play seemed made it a 25-point contest, 61-36, but Chattanooga continued to battle.
UTC shot just 28-percent in the first half before finding its groove midway through the second. Down 71-50 at the 7:01 mark, Pryor and Martynas Bareika combined for a five-point trip to get the lead down to 16, 71-55.
The Mocs slowly chipped away at that margin getting inside of 10 points (82-73) on a Robertson free throw with 1:01 to go. Bareika's three just 20 seconds later cut it back to nine, 85-76, with 41 ticks remaining.
Robertson fouled to send RU's Allen Dickerson to the free throw line. He missed both and Pryor raced his squad up the court. He found McGhee open in the corner, but his three-ball rimmed out. Radford made its free throws down the stretch for the 89-78 win.
"You're always playing uphill on the road," senior forward Z. Mason said. "But we fought back because Coach Wade just kept telling us to keep fighting. We cut the lead down to nine at one point, and he kept preaching to keep fighting.
"It's tough playing on the road anywhere, but we have to fight through that adversity and play hard."
Chattanooga managed just 36.1 percent (22-61) shooting on the night, 35.7 percent (10-28) from 3pt range. Radford shot 51.8 percent (29-56) including 50 percent (6-12) from beyond the arc.
The two telling stats beyond the shooting numbers came in the paint. The Highlanders held a 42-16 points in the paint advantage and out-rebounded the Mocs by 11, 45-34.
Radford was led by Jevonte Green's 23-point, 12-rebound effort. Rashun Davis and Ya Ya Anderson chipped in 13 and 12, respectively.
Chattanooga returns to the friendly confines of McKenzie Arena to take on Montreat Saturday, November 16, at 7 p.m. ET.
Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.
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