BLOOMINGTON, Ind. --- Chattanooga senior Keiana Gilbert matched her career-high with 27 points Monday night at Assembly Hall to lead the Mocs to a 64-61 win over Indiana in non-conference action. UTC improves to 2-3 on the year and handed the Hoosiers’ (3-1) their first loss.
“Kei played great,” Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster said. “She played great at both ends. Her three blocks, two of them huge on [Amanda] Cahill. She had a low release and we had a conversation about her low release. She would have difficulty shooting over Kei and she got a couple of key blocks as a result.”
Gilbert scored 20 points in the second half and was 10-of-16 for the game. She had seven rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots. She was joined in double figures by sophomore Lakelyn Bouldin with 13 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals. Junior Molly Melton was 3-of-4 from the 3-point line with a career-high 10 points, four rebounds and two assists.
“We just spaced the floor and spread the floor,” Foster said. “They could not stay in front of us off the bounce. We just took advantage of those opportunities.”
After trailing 27-23 at the half, the Mocs came out in the third on a 10-0 run and led 33-27 midway through the period. Chattanooga shot 62.5 percent (10-of-16) in the frame. Melton’s 3-pointer with 4:36 to go in the quarter gave UTC its largest lead at that point, 38-31.
The Hoosiers, however, responded with a 9-2 run to tie it up 40-40 with 2:03 to go in the third. In the final minute Gilbert and her sister Aryanna scored five points for the Mocs to lead 45-42 with 10 minutes remaining.
Chattanooga started the fourth with a 6-0 run for its largest lead of the game 51-42. Indiana called for time. The Hoosiers came out of the break, outscoring UTC 8-1 over the next four minutes to cut the Mocs lead to just 52-50 with 3:32 remaining.
Keiana Gilbert had a 3-point play to push the lead back out to five points with 3:04 left. Indiana’s Kym Royster hit a layup to gain two back, but Gilbert drew a foul and connected on her two free throws.
With 1:55 to play, IU’s Amanda Cahill took a shot but it was blocked by Gilbert. Bouldin’s layup with 57 seconds remaining gave UTC a 59-52 lead. Royster converted a 3-point play for the Hoosiers and the Mocs lead was down to 59-55 with 49 seconds remaining.
Gilbert again drew the foul down the stretch and connected on the first of her two free throws. Bouldin grabbed the offensive board on her missed second attempt and Melton drew a foul. She would make just one of her two attempts, keeping the game tight at 61-55 with 36 seconds to go.
Royster would again find the bucket on a layup with 20 seconds on the clock and Bouldin would get the points back on two free throws, 63-57 with 17.6 seconds to play.
On the inbounds play, Melton got called for the foul and the Hoosiers’ leading scorer Tyra Buss made just one of her two free throws. Indiana got the offensive rebound and a feed out to Buss on the wing made it 63-61 on her 3-pointer with 8.5 seconds to play.
Foster called for time to advance the ball and on the Mocs throw-in, Bouldin drew the foul and her one free throw gave the Mocs the final score 64-61. This marks the second straight year that Chattanooga has gotten a win on the road against a Big 10/Power 5 team.
“I think they had an appreciation for us and how we were playing,” Foster said of the atmosphere of the game. “They are fans of their hometown team, but I sensed they didn’t think it was going to be a game that was going to turn around quickly and favor their team.”
The Mocs shot 46.3 percent (25-54) for the game and 41.7 percent in the fourth quarter. They were outrebounded 39-33 and had 10 points on 10 offensive boards. Indiana edged the Mocs 36-32 in the paint. Both teams had 16 turnovers and IU outscored UTC 16-10 off miscues.
Indiana was led by Buss’ 17 points and 10 assists. Royster added 16 points and six rebounds and Cahill had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. IU shot 40 percent making 24-of-60.
Chattanooga remains on the road for the Challenge in Music City over the Thanksgiving weekend. UTC will take on Northwestern Friday, Georgetown on Saturday and close out the event against Auburn Sunday evening. Admission is free to the event and Larry Ward will have the action live on 96.1 FM all three games. Follow along at GoMocs.com.