LAS VEGAS, Nev. (UTC) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ran away with an 87-76 win over IUPUI Friday afternoon in the Las Vegas Invitational in Orleans Arena.
Senior Z. Mason led a quintet of Mocs in double digits tying his career high with 27 points.
Mason was joined by Casey Jones and Gee McGhee with 14 apiece. Lance Stokes tied his career high with 13 points which was matched by freshman point guard Greg Pryor.
"Our guys did a great job today - especially on such a short turnaround like that," said head coach Will Wade. "We did a phenomenal job of following the scouting report, and I thought we were in great shape. We wore them down.
"This was one of those games where you win it in June, July and August with your training."
Chattanooga (3-5) built on its 12-point halftime cushion early in the second half. Mason made it a 15-point affair, 55-40, with 15:25 to play. The Jaguars (1-7) rallied.
Donovan Gibbs capped a 16-3 run with a layup with 10:59 to play. That's as close as it would get. The lead went back to eight in a mere minute after three consecutive possessions with Mason's three-pointer from the corner making it 64-56 at 9:59.
The Mocs slowly pulled away from there. They took their largest lead of 16 points, 79-63, on a Jones jumper in the lane with three minutes remaining. They went six-for-six from the free throw line down the stretch to preserve the 87-76 win.
Chattanooga's work on the glass was a key in the win. It dominated the boards by 16, 37-21, grabbing more defensive rebounds (27) than IUPUI had total (21) for the game. Mason and Jones shared game-high honors with nine, while Stokes added another seven. Marcellus Barksdale led the Jaguars with five.
Ja'Rob McCallum came off the bench to keep IUPUI in the game. He tallied 25 points including three-of-five from three-point range. Ian Chiles had 15 points, while Khufu Najee added 13.
The Mocs shot 58.8 percent (30-51) from the field, 45.5 percent (5-11) from three-point range. Both numbers are season highs. The squad has now shot 50 percent or better in three of the last four contests.
"I am really happy for the guys," Wade added. "We have been making progress incrementally. As a coach, you see the progress and want the progress to be about the process. It's a bottom line deal for players.
"The progress has to be wins or losses," he concluded. "It was really good for our guys to get a win and see that what they're doing is paying off."
Chattanooga remains on the road Monday at Georgia. The 7:30 p.m., date with the Bulldogs ends a five-game road stretch.
Information provided by UTC Sports Media Relations and GoMocs.com.
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