MACON (GoMocs.com)---To quote the late, great Yogi Berra, “it’s déjà vu all over again” for the Chattanooga Mocs. They went to the limit and then some in a second overtime loss in a row, this time 75-71 at Mercer.
Rodney Chatman and Nat Dixon led the Mocs with 17 points apiece with Chatman adding six rebounds and eight assists. Makale Foreman chipped in 16 points with David Jean-Baptiste tallying 15. Joshua Phillips grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Jordan Strawberry led the hosts with a game-high 18 points. Desmond Ringer, 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Stephon Jelks, 10 points and 12 boards, both posted double-doubles.
Marcus Cohen’s layup with 3:46 to play in regulation gave Mercer a 64-58 lead. Foreman took care of that margin in two possessions.
He nailed a three with 3:26 to go. The Mocs got a defensive stop with a Dixon steal of a Cohen pass in the lane. They worked the offense as Foreman came free and tied it 64-all with 2:50 to play.
Chattanooga had two good looks from long range to take the lead, but Jean-Baptiste was just off the mark. The Bears took a 66-64 lead with 1:03 to go on two Strawberry free throws.
Another UTC miss was followed by a strong defensive series. The Mocs called timeout with the ball in the frontcourt and 8.1 seconds remaining.
They got the ball to Foreman a shot fake provided a good look. The high-arcing shot was on line but just a little long. It came hard off the back of the rim.
"It took forever to come off,” Jean-Baptiste shared. “I caught myself staring at the top of the key. Josh, talk about right time and right place. I saw it come off the rim and thought, 'I hope one of our guys grabs it'. It was a crazy play."
One of his guys did grab. Phillips came down with the ball and banked a 10-footer from just outside the paint to send it into overtime.
Foreman got the scoring started with two free throws. Back-to-back Bear baskets sandwiched a Dixon free throw for a 70-69 Mercer lead. It would not trail again.
The Mocs missed three straight shots before Chatman’s layup with 1:13 left cut the lead to two, 73-71. After Jelks missed the front end of the one-and-one, Chatman brought the ball up the floor. He was called for a charge with 24 seconds to go.
Strawberry made two free throws with 17 ticks left. A late three was off the mark and time expired with the Bears escaping with the 75-71 win.
"If Makale's [Foreman] shot goes in we win,” Coach Lamont Paris said. “We still got out-rebounded and out-scored in the paint but, we still would have won. But what a battle. What about these guys?
“If we had seven seniors and veterans and played that hard, I'd be saying sometimes that's how it goes. I don't know if I coached a team, all things considered, that fights and competes this hard. I'm glad I am coaching these guys.
“I'm still not happy we lost, but man, these guys. They just fight. I feel for them about how this turned out."
Mercer led by as many as 10 in the second half going up 55-45 on Ringer’s layup at 9:40. The lead was still nine, 62-53 with 5:50 to go when the Mocs made their move. With three starters playing 45 minutes and another turning in 44, they dug deep to out-score their hosts 13-4 down the stretch missing the win by less than an inch.
ON THE RECORD
Chattanooga: 6-13, 0-6 in the SoCon – Mercer: 9-9, 2-3
In Macon: 11-24
SoCon Regular Season: 4-3
Last 10: 4-6
3 NOTES TO KNOW
View complete notes package from tonight at the notes link above. Three to know…
First back-to-back overtime games since 1999. That also occurred in league play with a Jan. 11 win over ETSU and Jan. 14 loss to Appalachian State.
Three of the last four meetings in Macon have gone to OT.
Combining the first 10 minutes of each period in regulation, the Bears out-scored their visitors 45-29, Mocs won the second 10s 37-21.
Access thoughts on tonight’s game at the quotes link above.
"We have the heart. A lot of grit and a lot of toughness. I know we only have a couple guys coming off the bench. We have a lot of toughness on this team, physically and mentally. We're just pushing through and playing hard. A lot of toughness on this team and we're coming together." – David Jean-Baptiste on the team’s play in back-to-back overtime games with a depleted roster.
Check out the full box score at the link above. Here are three notable numbers…
Makale Foreman played all 90 minutes of the two OT games scoring 46 points. Rodney Chatman, Nat Dixon and David Jean-Baptiste registered 89 of clock time.
Eight turnovers is a season-low vs. a DI opponent…seven against Hiwassee is the top number.
+21 scoring margin (30-9) from three-point range…Mocs went 10-29 (34.5%), while the Bears were 3-12 (25.0%).
at Western Carolina 65, VMI 58
The final of three in a row on the road is this Saturday at Wofford. The contest is slated to begin at 7 p.m., on ESPN3.
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