Mocs can't overcome big second half from Wofford, lose second straight
The Chattanooga Mocs made an early move in the second half but couldn't hold off Wofford in an 80-69 loss in Southern Conference play Saturday night. Jerry Johnson, Jr., led three Mocs in double digits with 19.
Kevin Easley added 14 and a team-high eight rebounds. David Jean-Baptiste chipped in 11 points, a career-high-tying seven rebounds and two steals. The Terriers were led by Fletcher Magee's 24 points as Cameron Jackson posted 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
It was a see-saw battle entering the second half. Down one at the break, the Mocs came out on an 11-2 spurt to build an eight-point advantage. Johnson started it out with back-to-back post ups on Magee to start the half. Easley book-ended a Ramon Vila layup with two free throws and a three that forced a Wofford timeout at 17:49.
Thomas Smallwood's hook at the basket nearly four minutes got the visitors back to four points ahead, weathering Wofford's early efforts. The hosts scored the next nine points, however, to take a five-point cushion, 51-46 on the second Magee three in the spurt.
Johnson answered with a triple on the ensuing possession, and Vila tied it at 51-all on the following one. It was 53-53 with 11:00 to go when the Terriers pulled away. Matt Pegram's offensive rebound and put-back at 7:47 capped a 14-3 run taking an 11-point margin, 67-56. It surged to 17 points before late threes by Jean-Baptiste and Johnson provided the final score of 80-69.
Wofford scored 22 points off its offensive board work totaling 13 in all. It proved to be the difference in the game.
"At some point, you just have to put your foot down," Coach Lamont Paris stated. "If it was just because of pure ability, why did it take them so long to go up like that? They played better than us for a while, I know that, but we have to learn how to simply put our foot down. We need to get better at that. We need to provide some level of resistance so teams can't beat you with things their comfortable with."
Chattanooga and Furman are tied for fourth in the SoCon standings at 5-4. They trail Wofford (9-0), UNCG (8-1) and ETSU (7-2). Mercer (3-6), Samford (3-6), Western Carolina (2-7), The Citadel (2-7) and VMI (1-8) follow.
The Mocs return home next weekend hosting Western Carolina (Jan. 31) and ETSU (Feb. 2). Tickets are available on GoMocs.com or by calling (423) 266-MOCS (6627).