The Chattanooga Mocs struggles on the defensive glass led to a 74-69 loss at Mercer Saturday afternoon. The loss kept Chattanooga from clinching a top six spot in the Southern Conference standing which earns a bye into the quarterfinals of the league tourney in two weeks.
Mercer's Ross Cummings led all scorers with a career-best 37 points, exactly half of his squad's total output. Jerry Johnson, Jr., led the Mocs with 17, while David Jean-Baptiste added 15.
The Mocs were in great shape at the end of the first half. A.J. Caldwell's three with 11 seconds until the break put his guys up 14, 42-28. The Bears moved into the front court. Jaylen Stowe scored through Jonathan Scott's foul with four seconds to go. His and-1 rimmed out, but the ball bounced out of bounds, Bears ball. Ethan Stair drilled a corner 2-point jumper to close to within 10, 42-32.
The Bears clawed back within a point a few times throughout the second frame, but the Mocs had an answer. Jean-Baptiste's triple with 6:02 to play made it a four-point game, 59-55. The answers ended at that point.
A 16-2 Mercer run was capped by Stair's two free throws with 28 seconds remaining. It was a 10-point game at that point, 71-61. Johnson's three-point play and late layup book-ended Jean-Baptiste's third three, but it was not enough to get back to good.
"The same things that won us the game at The Citadel are the same things that loss us the game here," Jean-Baptiste shared. "The stops, the boxing out….they had 18 second-chance points, and I feel like that killed us.
"Not getting stops at the end of the game and not getting those rebounds that we needed."
The Mocs return to the Roundhouse this week to close out the regular season. Wofford visits Thursday night at 7 p.m., before Saturday Senior Day matinee against Furman, a 2 p.m., start. Tickets are on sale at the link above or by calling (423) 266-MOCS (6627).