Mocs Head into the Holidays with 73-57 Win over Jacksonville State
CHATTANOOGA (GoMocs.com)---The senior trio of Greg Pryor, Tre’ McLean and Johnathan Burroughs-Cook each scored 14 points to lead the Chattanooga Mocs to a 73-57 win over Jacksonville State Wednesday afternoon. The Mocs led by as many as 29 in the second half before settling for the 16-point win.
McLean’s baseline runner at the first half buzzer started a run that put the game away. The Mocs came out of the break leading by 11, 37-26, and quickly built on the momentum for McLean’s finish. The lead quickly reached 21, 47-26, on a Justin Tuoyo put-back slam with 16:58 to play.
"You know you have a mature, veteran group when fifth-year seniors (McLean and Tuoyo) don’t score a field goal until the last 10 seconds of the first half, and it didn't effect either one of them,” Coach Matt McCall shared. “They came out in the second half with a great level of focus and not wrapped up in their numbers. You know you have a veteran group and a team that is committed to one another when that happens.”
The lead reached its zenith of 29, 62-33 with 10:02 remaining on a Pryor 3pt basket. It was still a 29-point game with four minutes to go when JSU started to chip away at the advantage. It got as close as 14, 71-57, on a Derrick Green three-pointer before a Burroughs-Cook layup just ahead of a shot clock violation in the closing seconds ending the scoring.
"I was disappointed the way we closed out the game, but at that point, you put some guys in difficult positions,” McCall added. “It's something we can learn and grow from and get better. I couldn't be prouder of this group. We have had a really tough schedule and played some high-level teams that will win a lot of games in their league.
“There's been a lot of adversity we've faced in these first 12 games, and I felt like we have handled it the right way. We have to continue to get better and we'll get back to work right after Christmas because this is a really important time for our team."
McLean and Tuoyo combined for 22 second-half points. Tuoyo finished with 10 points and six blocks. It’s the seventh time in his career he’s had six or more as he moved into fifth-place all-time in the Southern Conference record books with 224.
Malcolm Drumwright led the Gamecocks with 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists. The Mocs limited the nation’s sixth-best 3pt shooter, Erik Durham to a six-point night. He entered the game shooting 55.3 percent while making more than three per contest. He was 0-2 this afternoon.
Chattanooga improved to 9-3. It’s the second time in school history, following last season’s lead, the Mocs have claimed nine wins this early in the season. Jacksonville State falls to 7-7 playing away from home in 13 of the 14 contests.
The Mocs ended the non-conference portion of the schedule today. After the holidays, they head into Southern Conference play with a trip to Western Carolina and UNCG. It starts Saturday, Dec. 31, at WCU before taking on the Spartans on Monday, Jan. 2.