Mocs keep pace for first place with 81-72 win over UNCG
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.(GoMocs.com)---A quartet of double-digit scorers led the Southern Conference-leading Chattanooga Mocs to an 81-72 win over visiting UNCG Saturday evening. UTC shares first place at 7-1 with Wofford, a game ahead of Mercer at 6-2. The Mocs improve to 14-7, while the Spartans fall to 6-15, 2-6 in the league.
Greg Pryor posted a team-high 19 points, with Justin Tuoyo adding 18. The duo combined for 24 in the second half, none bigger than two in the closing minute.
Tevon Saddler drove strong for a layup at 1:41 for the Spartans. It was two of his game-high 22 points to make it a four-point game, 74-70. The Mocs worked the clock getting a good three-point look from the SoCon's leading marksman, Eric Robertson.
Robertson shot at 1:11 was a little off, but Tuoyo claimed the rebound. Chattanooga went to work for nearly another 30 seconds before Pryor's pulled up in the paint and made it a two-possession game with 42.6 to go.
“Tuoyo got the big one at the end,” coach Will Wade stated. “We were able to get out there and ride the clock out a little bit.”
UNCG worked quickly up the floor. Nicholas Paulos drove to the basket but missed the layup. Tre' McLean grabbed the board and made one of his two free throws. That was the first of two defensive stops in the final minute to secure the final of 81-72.
Robertson and Martynas Bareika were big off the bench. The duo combined for 27 points with Bareika netting 14 and Robertson 13. Tuoyo led the effort on the boards with nine, four offensive, while blocking four shots. It's his ninth consecutive game with three or more.
Kayel Locke and Diante Baldwin had 12 apiece for the Spartans. Marvin Smith added 10 points matching Tuoyo for game-high honors with nine boards. UNCG shot 49.2 percent from the floor and won the rebounding battle 37-34.
A big key for the Mocs came on the boards in the second half. They limited their visitors to just two offensive rebounds with no second chance points after the Spartans rang up 11 in the opening 20 minutes.
“I thought the key of the game was in the second half,” Wade added. “We only gave up two offensive rebounds. Two in the entire second half, after giving up eight in the first, we didn't give up any second chance points. So, I thought that really swung the momentum of the game. I thought that was critical to us pulling away.”
UNCG led by three, 35-32, with just over four minutes to go in the first half. The Mocs went on a 9-2 run capped by a Robertson three at 2:10 for a 42-35 advantage before heading into intermission up 44-37. Bareika (12) and Robertson (11) kept the Mocs in the game, Tuoyo and Pryor finished it off.
Chattanooga hits the road Thursday for Macon, Ga., for a meeting at Mercer. The game airs on ESPN3.com at 7 p.m. The Mocs return home next Saturday welcoming The Citadel at 6 p.m., following the women's game with Mercer. Click the tickets link above to order and print at your home or office.
The games broadcast on the radio locally at US 101 the Legend at 96.1 FM. Gameday links to video (ESPN3.com), audio (MSN) and live stats are available on GoMocs.com. Follow @GoMocsMBB on Twitter for live updates.