UTC Mocs holds off ETSU 73-67 to win SoCon championship - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports


UTC Mocs holds off ETSU 73-67 to win SoCon championship

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WRCB) - No. 1 seed Chattanooga held off second-seeded East Tennessee State 73-67 on Monday night to win its 11th Southern Conference championship title and earn an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.

"I remember that first time I walked into the meeting room. Everyone is looking at me like I was funny, and who's this guy, this punk kid from Gainesville, Florida" recalled Mocs head coach Matt McCall after the game. "The first meeting we had and the relationships we've been able to build basically over these last 11 months are going to last lifetime. They deserve this because it would have been easy for them to each go their separate ways, and they didn't do that."

The Mocs, who improved to 29-5 extending their school record for single-season wins, never trailed in the second half despite seeing the Bucs trim their lead to one twice in the frame.
Dee Oldham's 3pt shot put Chattanooga firmly in control with 14:40 left to play, pushing the score to 48-37, but ETSU was about to make a run. Desonta Bradford got it started with a three-point play, and Deuce Bello followed with a triple to make it a five-point contest at 48-43.

Another Merriweather layup made it 50-49. But McLean and Chuck Ester had the answers. McLean hit a jumper followed by an Ester layup to make it a two-possession game again. The Bucs got it back to two points twice – the last time on a T.J. Cromer 3-pointer with 5:42 to go.
Chattanooga quickly stretched its lead back to eight. McLean drilled a three and then Pryor made three free throws to go up 65-57. The lead never dipped below five points again.

McLean and Pryor were all-tournament selections, with Pryor earning the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
With the win, UTC became the first school in league history to win the men's and women's basketball tournaments in the same season. There had been 16 previous occasions in which a school put both squads in their respective title games.
The Mocs learn their postseason fate on March 13, as the NCAA's Selection Sunday show will air on CBS at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

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