The Chattanooga Mocs cruised to a 79-45 win over Bryan Friday afternoon in the Roundhouse. The win send the squad into the holiday break on a high note before returning to full-time Southern Conference action in a little over a week.
Kevin Easley led the way with 17 points and nine rebounds. Jerry Johnson, Jr., and Ramon Vila each had 12, while Donovann Toatley and Thomas Smallwood chipped in 11 and 10, respectively. E.J. Bush led the Lions with 14 points and nine boards tying Easley for game-high honors.
Brandon Thomas's layup with 5:01 remaining in the first half had the Lions thinking upset cutting the home squad's lead to nine, 32-23. But the Mocs had other ideas, specifically defensively. They kept Bryan off the scoreboard for 11 straight possessions extending the lead to 20, 43-23, on back-to-back Easley layups at the start of the second half.
The Lions battled back to get within 13, 47-34, on a Bush mid-range jumper at 12:25. The Mocs just stayed solid offensively. They score six of the next seven trips down the floor to almost double the lead to 63-39 on Smallwood's lay-in with 8:36 to play.
The margin reached 30-plus on Jonathan Scott's layup off a nice feed from David Jean-Baptiste with 3:17 to go. The largest lead of 35 also came on a Scott basket as his layup made it 79-44 with 1:28 to play.
"I think we did a good job (defensively)," Coach Lamont Paris shared in the post-game press conference. "I think we had 10 straight possessions at the end of the first half where they didn't score. Even though I wasn't pleased on some things, we were able to at least do that at the end of the half and that was good.
"Our defense has been feast or feminine all season as far as just pure points on the board," he continued. "We've had really good halves, and we had halves where we'd like to forget. It doesn't matter who you play, if you're defending, you're defending.
"You have to finish it off with rebounds and I think we did a decent job of that. I'm just happy overall."
This ends the Mocs pre-holiday and non-conference schedules. Next up is a 3-game road trip to return to SoCon play. Chattanooga heads to UNCG on Saturday, Dec. 29, followed by a weekend jaunt to Western Carolina (Jan. 3) and ETSU (Jan. 5).
They return to the Roundhouse on Saturday, Jan. 12 with a visit from Samford. Tickets are available on or by calling (423) 266-MOCS (6627).