CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Gomocs.com) -- It was déjà vu all over again for the Chattanooga Mocs. The game came down to the final possession just has it has done time and again this season. The Mocs ended up on the wrong side of a 70-68 decision at Western Carolina.
"That's another one," Coach Lamont Paris said afterwards. "We couldn't manufacture a stop when we needed to tonight. We did not play well, and I didn't have a good feeling about it. Sometimes you feel okay being down five. I didn't feel good where we were for the majority of the game."
It was a back-and-forth affair from the start. There were 21 lead changes and 11 ties over the 40 minutes. Neither team led by more than five all night.
Nat Dixon led all scorers with 21 points for the Mocs. Makale Foreman and Makinde London each tallied 12, while Rodney Chatman and David Jean-Baptiste registered 11 apiece. Deriece Parks paced the Catamounts with 17, all in the second half.
It was a 47-44 deficit with 10:18 to play when the visitors looked to take control. Chatman's layup on a nice feed from London got the ball rolling. Jean-Baptiste capped a 7-0 spurt with a triple at 8:34 for the 51-47 advantage, the largest Chattanooga lead of the night.
It see-sawed from there into the final minute with the Catamounts up two, 68-66, on a Mike Amius three-point play. The Mocs worked the next possession with the ball ending up in Dixon's hands. His jumper with 37.4 remaining knotted the score at 68-all.
The Cats looked inside for Amius. He fell as London collected the ball, but a late whistle came. London was called for his fifth foul as Amius hit the deck on the pass. The junior hit two free throws giving the ball to UTC for a final possession.
After a timeout with 13.4 seconds left, the Mocs worked the offense. Jean-Baptiste drove to the basket but the effort was off the mark. He got his own rebound and got a final try off. It bounded off backboard, then rim as the buzzer sounded.
Turnovers (15) and an unusual amount of fouls (18) proved frustrating.
"You can't do that with consistency and feel like you're going to win," Paris added. "There's a lot of components that go into winning a basketball game. One of them is just playing…just playing basketball. We have to improve catching the ball without traveling. That killed us.
"Defending without fouling. I wrote that up on the board. I knew the way they play, and what they like to do, it needed to be mentioned. We didn't do that. We fouled, and it was the same guys we kept fouling. Breakdowns, miscues. Some missed free throws. They'll always come back to bite you."
ON THE RECORD
Chattanooga: 8-16, 2-9 in the SoCon – Western Carolina: 10-13/5-5
SoCon Regular Season: 53-23
Last 10: 6-4
First Meeting: Jan. 4 in Chattanooga
3 NOTES TO KNOW
View complete notes package from tonight at the notes link above. Three to know…
14th straight double-digit game for Nat Dixon. He has six games in the 20s this season, all in league play.
Makale Foreman entered the night 59th in the country in average minutes played (35:28). Played 26 due to foul trouble, fewest of the campaign except 24 in the first meeting vs. Jacksonville State.
The Mocs hit 11 3pt tonight. It's the 11th time this season the squad has made 10 or more beyond the arc.
Access thoughts on tonight's game at the quotes link above.
"We been in these situations all year. We haven't come out on the right side of it enough. We can control our mindset and effort as a team, and tonight we weren't very good at that." – Dixon on playing in another one-possession game.
Check out the full box score at the link above. Here are three notable numbers…
21 lead changes and 11 ties tonight.
Six of the last seven games have ended with the margin within four points.
Neither team led by more than five points on the night.
at The Citadel 80, Wofford 78
at ETSU 96, Samford 76
at UNCG 73, VMI 51
Furman 85, at Mercer 73
The Mocs depart Cullowhee tonight for Johnson City, Tenn., and a Saturday matinee with ETSU. Tip off at 4 p.m., on the WatchESPN app (ESPN3).