Mocs Fall as Last-Second Shot is Off the Mark - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mocs Fall as Last-Second Shot is Off the Mark

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CHATTANOOGA ( came down to a pair of layups in the Chattanooga Mocs 70-69 loss to VMI in McKenzie Arena. The Keydets’ Austin Vereen made his with seven seconds remaining, while Rodney Chatman’s contested attempt at the buzzer was just off the mark.

It was a game that featured 14 lead changes and six ties throughout. Kind of appropriate for it to have come down to a final shot.

James Lewis, Jr., and Joshua Phillips led the Mocs with 15 points each. Makinde London added 12, while Nat Dixon finished with 10. Bubba Parham had a game-high 26 for VMI with Garrett Gilkerson chipping in 17 points and 10 rebounds.

After trailing by as many as 10 in the first half, Chattanooga got off to a quick start in the second. Phillips three-point play with 18:24 left put the good guys up five, 42-37. The Mocs went without a field goal for nearly four minutes when Phillips snapped the string with a layup at 14:48, and a two-point deficit, 47-45.

Neither team led or trailed by more than four the rest of the way. It was 62-60 Mocs when Gilkeson hit his career-best fifth three pointer for a one-point lead, 63-62. Phillips answered 22 seconds later with a dunk and the lead 64-63, with 4:13 to go.

The script flipped back to the Keydets. Back-to-back baskets by Parham and Vereen put the visitors up three, 67-64, as the clicked ticked under two minutes. It was Lewis’ turn with a layup off a nice feed from Makale Foreman making it a one-point affair.

One defensive stop led to a tying free throw from London. Another stop, two free throws from Chatman for a 69-67 advantage. The defense earned another stop, but Tyler Creammer grabbed the offensive board and was fouled with 17 ticks left. He missed the first, but the second was true. Mocs ball up 69-68.

Nat Dixon in-bounded to Chatman. The Keydets sprung a trap and as he pulled away from the clutching for the ball and passed to mid-court, he was called for a travel with a little than 13 seconds to go. The Keydets got the ball to Parham, he drove to the elbow and elevated.

The defense was in good position forcing an awkward shot. But at the last second, Parham saw a streaking Vereen for the lay-in. Chatman got the ball, brought it up the right side and made his move to the basket. His effort off the glass caught rim, but no twine under duress from a Keydet defender.

"Disappointed in the loss, particularly how it went down,” Coach Lamont Paris shared. “We had opportunities to make plays and some of them didn't have to be great plays, just solid plays. We failed on that mission.

“We didn't play particularly well by our standards, but it wasn't terrible. We just didn't manage the last minute well enough. It's discipline. All five guys have to be disciplined. We had a great look at the end and just didn't finish."

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