By Peyton Gray, Sports Editor-
The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking 77-59 Southern Conference loss to Wofford Saturday in McKenzie Arena. Coming off a 19-point comeback win against Mercer, the Mocs began this game much like they ended the last one.
The Mocs were leading 24-19 when Wofford’s Nick Pringle connected on a jump shot with 5:15 left in the first. UTC responded by going on an 11-3 run into halftime. Leading by as many as 14 in the first half, the Mocs went on a cold streak in the second.
The second half also saw a different Wofford team. They steadily caught the Mocs until at about the 12-minute mark, they went on a streak of their own.
UTC’s Malachi Smith, who led the Mocs with 15 points and seven rebounds, made a drive to the basket that resulted in UTC leading 46-38. The Terriers answered this by going on a 10-0 run to put the game at 48-46. The finale of this run was a three from Wofford’s Storm Murphy.
The Mocs refused to give up with under 10 minutes left in the game. Josh Ayeni connected on two free throws. David Jean-Baptiste, who had 13 points in the game, followed Ayeni with a layup to give UTC the lead.
After two made free throws from Smith, the game was all square at 52 with 6:24 left in the game. This is the point at which Wofford began to pull away. The Terriers went on a 25-7 run in the last six minutes of the game–16 of those being from the free-throw line.
“We didn’t compete,” Malachi Smith said. “It wasn’t skill or talent. They out-rebounded us by 21 in the second half, that’s just competing and playing harder.”
The Mocs had 10 turnovers in the second half alone and the Terriers used this to take a 15-2 advantage in points off turnovers. UTC was also outscored 55-24 in the second half.
“I’m uninspired by that effort in the second half,” Coach Lamont Paris added. “And I think that we didn’t play that great in the first half, but as far as stuff around the basket, we had a lot of stuff around the basket that we didn’t finish. 55 points in the second half, we’re not serious about winning.”