KNOXVILLE (GoMocs.com)---Seniors Justin Tuoyo and Tre’ McLean each posted 20-10 nights leading the Chattanooga Mocs to a season-opening 82-69 win at Tennessee. The duo combined for 43 points and 21 boards in the triumph with 26 and 11 coming in the second half.
“We’ve been here before,” Tuoyo shared. “Basketball is a game of runs, and we have great leaders on this team that stepped up and answered when we had to tonight.”
The Mocs opened the second half with an 11-2 spurt extending its lead to 45-31 on two McLean free throws with 16:35 to go. It was an 11-point advantage when the Vols made their move. Robert Hubbs III’s dunk with 7:15 left made it a six-point affair, 60-54.
The lead was seven, 62-55, at 5:38. Chattanooga reeled off three straight scoring possessions. It started with a Johnathan Burroughs-Cook layup followed by a Tuoyo slam. Greg Pryor finished it with a layup at 3:55 to build a 13-point margin, 68-55.
“We came out with a little bit of jitters,” McLean noted. “It was the first game of the season under the bright lights and in front of a great crowd. Once we gained some confidence, we started scoring points and getting into a rhythm.”
From that point on, the Mocs closed out with strong free throw shooting. They made 10 of 12 (83.3%) to slam the door on their hosts.
“It was the first game in a tough environment,” Coach Matt McCall noted. “To play an SEC opponent, in an environment like this, against a great team and a great head coach (Rick Barnes), and actually win the game. It’s unbelievable for your players, your program and the city of Chattanooga.
“A lot of excitement here tonight.”
Tuoyo’s 22 points is a career high. His 22 and 11 was buoyed by McLean’s 21 and 10. Pryor added 14 points and four rebounds, while Burroughs-Cook scored all 11 of his points in the second frame.
Tennessee was paced by Jordan Bone. The freshman had 21 in his career debut. Lamonte Turner chipped in 12 off the bench, as Hubbs tallied 11. The Vols were limited to 32.8 percent (19-58) shooting including a meager 1-for-16 (6.3%) from 3pt range.
The Mocs remain on the road this weekend travelling to No. 6 North Carolina. Game time Sunday is 4 p.m., on ESPN2. A watch party is planned at Pin Strikes in Chattanooga on Perimeter Drive at the Lee Hwy exit off Hwy 153. Students bowl free from 3-4 p.m., with the first 60 receiving free shoes. There are food and drink specials as well.
The contest airs on the Mocs Sports Network via 96.1 the Legend in Chattanooga. Links to live stats, video (WatchESPN app) and audio (Mocs Sports Network) are on GoMocs.com’s men’s basketball schedule page.
Season and single-game tickets are available on GoMocs.com or by calling (423) 266-MOCS (6627). For the next 24 hours, the “Mocs Win, You Win” promotion is on with 25 percent off season tickets using the “mocswin” promo code in honor of the men’s win at Tennessee and the women defeating Rutgers (66-53) earlier in the day.