Resilient Mocs Battle Back Ultimately Falling to Mercer - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Resilient Mocs Battle Back Ultimately Falling to Mercer

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CHATTANOOGA (GoMocs.com)---The Chattanooga Mocs have faced nearly every form of adversity this season, but continue the good fight. They came back from 16 down to take a late lead, only to falter at the end in an 84-75 loss to Mercer in McKenzie Arena.

Rodney Chatman led all scorers with 24 points for the Mocs to go with six assists, two blocks and three steals. Desmond Ringer’s 17 paced five Bears in double digits along with a game-high seven rebounds.

Mercer led by as many as 16 in the first half and still had an 11-point advantage, 57-46, when the Mocs’ trademark resiliency took center stage. Chatman hit two free throws to spur an 8-0 spurt cutting the lead to three, 57-54, on a triple from David Jean-Baptiste with just over 10 minutes to play.

It got to two on the next possession on a Chatman three. It went to five, back to three, to five, back to three, yada yada yada before Jordan Strawberry’s 3pt with 5:53 remaining made it a six-point game, 69-63. Chattanooga would not fold.

Makinde London scored three of his 15 on the ensuing possession. He tied it a minute later (4:32) with another three-pointer as the crowd exploded.

"The crowd is always amazing here,” senior Joshua Phillips shared. “I feel like the crowd tonight really did help us, especially when we were hitting the clutch free throws and clutch shots they got real loud for us.

“I really appreciate the fans coming to the game supporting us."

Chatman made it another 8-0 run with a jumper in the lane at 3:48. That gave UTC its first lead since 3-0 in the first half on you guessed, a Chatman three to start the scoring.

Ringer ended a two-a-half-minute scoring drought with a three-point play 25 seconds later. Phillips got the lead back at 73-72 with two of those clutch free throws he talked about. That was at the three-minute mark.

The Bears overcame the Mocs momentum scoring on five of their final six possessions holding off the charging home squad. They closed the game on a 12-2 run for the victory.

"I told them in the locker room they showed me some things I ultimately want to be defining characteristics of our team,” Coach Lamont Paris was quick to point out. “They had a comfortable lead by most standards for most of the game, so there was no reason for our guys to really think that we could come back and take the lead. There was no real reason to believe that other than they have some things in them.

“Sometimes you don't even know what they're made out of, but that spoke volumes to what they have inside of them to do that. It wasn't because we made a whole bunch of shots, a lot of it was getting stops. We had a relatively small window of time where we got a bunch of stops, then we combined that with scoring a couple of buckets here and there.

“That’s how you erase a deficit and take the lead. I liked what I saw as far as what we are made out of. It spoke volumes to what you have on the inside in order to be able to do that."

ON THE RECORD

Chattanooga: 9-18, 3-11 in the SoCon – Mercer: 12-13/5-7

THE SERIES

Meeting: 69th

Overall: 32-37

SoCon Regular Season: 4-4

Last 10: 4-6

3 NOTES TO KNOW

View complete notes package from tonight at the notes link above. Three to know…

  • Third 20-point effort in the last five games for Rodney Chatman…averaging 20.2 ppg over that stretch.
  • Season-low 17 rebounds…least collected by the Mocs in McKenzie Arena and third-fewest in the program’s DI era…last time with 17 or fewer was 16 vs. Morehead State on Nov. 28, 2013 in Las Vegas during Will Wade’s first season.
  • Mercer shot 65.1 percent (28-43) including 64.7 percent (11-17) from 3pt range…there were just 16 defensive rebound opportunities with the Mocs grabbing 10…Bears shot 58-of-96 for the year against the Mocs, 60.4 percent over 85 minutes.

QUOTABLE

Access thoughts on tonight’s game at the quotes link above.

"They made the effort plays leading up to three minutes. I think under three minutes we didn't make those plays. We didn't get the stops we needed. They made their shots. That's when the most important plays you make of your career have to be in the last two minutes to win the game." – Rodney Chatman.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

Check out the full box score at the link above. Here are three notable numbers…

  • 22-25 (88%) from the free throw line tonight is the sixth 80 or better percentage this season…84.4 percent (38-45) for the weekend making 80 percent (16-20) in Thursday night’s win over The Citadel.
  • +6 turnover margin tonight…+14 for the season against a team that averaged 12.6 enter today’s contest.
  • The Bears were +12 at the 3pt line with 11 made compared to UTC’s seven.

SOCON SCOREBOARD

ETSU 70, at VMI 56

at Furman 76, Wofford 52

at UNCG 65, Western Carolina 48

The Citadel at Samford, 8 p.m.

COMING UP

Next weekend features a road/home split with a tight turnaround. It starts Thursday at Furman (7 p.m.) and then shifts back to Gig City for the home finale Saturday against Wofford at 5 p.m. It’s a double date with the ladies starting at 2 p.m.

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