CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (GoMocs.com)---The streak is at nine as the Chattanooga Mocs raced past Elon 84-63 tonight in McKenzie Arena. Chattanooga is now 13-8 on the year, 7-0 in first place in the Southern Conference. The nine-game win streak is the first since 11 straight in 1996-97, the NCAA Sweet 16 season, and it's the first 7-0 SoCon start since 2010-11.
Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) continued his assault on SoCon defenses with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Gee McGhee (Baton Rouge, La.) and Ronrico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) each added 13 points for the victors. Sebastian Koch and Luke Eddy paced the Phoenix with 11 points. Lucas Troutman and Tanner Samson chipped in 10 apiece.
The Mocs trailed early then blew past their visitors. Elon jumped out to a 12-4 lead 4:12 into the game, but it was out-scored 80-59 by its hosts over the final 35:48.
"Good win…a complete game," Head Coach Will Wade stated to open his press conference. "We started a little slow but got going and were able to settle in the flow of the game.
"Give credit to our guys," he continued. "Z. Mason…he played phenomenally. He is a tremendous player, the best player in this league. I thought Casey Jones played good as well. They were sagging off of him, and he was able to get some great assists and spread the ball around."
McGhee made the play of the game. Koch hit a jumper with a little more than two seconds to go in the opening half and went to the line to complete the three-point play. He missed the free toss. Lance Stokes (Orlando, Fla.) grabbed the board and made the outlet pass to McGhee. The sophomore's 70-foot heave banked in for a 41-32 halftime lead.
"It definitely gave us momentum," Mason said. "A shot like that…how many times does that go in? It was a big shot and it put us up nine. We were pumped in the locker room and just excited to get back out there and play.
"It was definitely a big shot for us and a big momentum changer."
It was all Mocs from there. The lead became 15 (51-36) on two Stokes free throws at 14:55. It swelled to 20 (59-39) just three-and-a-half minutes later with McGhee at the line. Three different times Mason gave his squad its biggest lead of 25 with the last coming on a layup, 71-46, with 7:36 to play.
Elon cut the margin to 18, 75-57, on a Brian Dawkins jumper with 4:00 to go, but that's as close as it would get. Anthanee Doyle (Holly Springs, N.C.) hit a three with 13 seconds to go to end the Mocs' scoring for the night as the buzzer sounded with an 84-63 final score.
"I thought we did a good job defensively in the second half guarding it well from the three-point line," Wade added. "The first six minutes of that half were really good for us. We got the lead and throughout the rest of the game were able to get a comfortable margin for the rest of the night.
"Elon is a very good team…we were able to play well and answer the bell."
Chattanooga dominated the boards 35-25. That led to a 15-4 advantage in second chance points. The league's scoring leader padded its average with 84 tonight while holding Elon, who ranked second entering the game at 77.8 points per contest, nearly 15 points under its average.
"I want to thank all the fans that came out tonight," Wade said. "I know we didn't quite have 5,000 here but it sounded like 7,000 a few times out there. The turnout was great, the students were great.
"We just need to keep that momentum going into Saturday."
The Mocs return to McKenzie Arena Saturday night in a televised doubleheader with the women's team. The ladies tackle Samford at 4 p.m., as Head Coach Jim Foster goes after career win No. 800. The men follow at 7 p.m., against UNCG with both games broadcast on ESPN3.com.
The games can be listened to live on ESPN 105.1 FM the Zone in the Scenic City, or go to the men's basketball schedule page on GoMocs.com for links to video (ESPN3), audio (free) and live stats. You can follow @GoMocsMBB on twitter for live updates as well.