CHATTANOOGA (GoMocs.com) ---Four Chattanooga Mocs (6-2) scored in double figures with the defense in lockdown mode in a 79-52 win over the University of Louisiana at Monroe (2-5). UTC forced a season-high 23 Warhawk turnovers.
Greg Pryor led the quartet in double digits with 16 points and a season-high five rebounds. Justin Tuoyo added 14 points and a game-high-tying six rebounds, while Makinde London and Tre’ McLean chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively. Sam McDaniel and Travis Munnings tied for the ULM high with 12 apiece.
Chattanooga broke it open early. A 17-4 spurt built an 18-lead, 29-11, on McLean’s layup with 7:55 to go in the opening frame. Marvin St. Pierre’s layup at 2:31 got it to 15, but Casey Jones’ and-1 slam and a McLean 3pt sent the home team into the break ahead 21, 42-21.
The lead reached 31, 54-23, quickly to start the second half. Pryor drained a three at 16:04 to cap the 12-2 opening. It was the largest lead of the game. It was a dominating performance with the Mocs leading by 15 or more for the last 32:47.
It’s the second straight game the Mocs defense limited their opponent to 52 points following Tuesday’s 68-52 victory at Coastal Carolina. It’s the first time since January 2010 that the Gig City lads held DI opposition to less than 55 points in consecutive contests (Jan. 11, UNCG-45/Jan. 14, The Citadel-54).
“We have been focusing on hanging our hats on playing good defense,” Pryor shared. “We put in a lot of focus on scouting. We’ve just been hanging our hats on defense and rebounding. That’s what we came out and did tonight.”
The 23 turnovers proved costly for the visitors. The Mocs converted a +13 turnover margin into a 29-4 points off turnover advantage. That included 11 steals with Tuoyo tying his career high with three.
"We're really proud of our team these last three games after our New York trip,” Coach Matt McCall added. “Especially in these last two games…defensively we have really been disruptive, and I'm proud of our team for that.
“They have the right focus and mentality in regards to that, and when you take care of the defense, then the offense takes care of itself. I'm just really proud of our team."
The Mocs get back to business Tuesday night with a visit from former arch-rival Marshall. UTC and the Herd dominated the Southern Conference in the 1980’s with six regular season championships for the good guys, while Marshall had three. The duo accounted for seven of the decade’s 10 tourney titles with four coming back to the Scenic City, while three went to Huntington.