By Chris King, Assistant Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team battled back to claim a 77-66 win over the Wofford Terriers at McKenzie Arena on Thursday night.
The Chattanooga Mocs fell behind early as Wofford jumped out to a 22-11 lead with nine minutes left in the first half. Senior Tre’ McLean, Charleston, S.C., would then go on to score eight points in a 12-0 run to give the Mocs a 23-22 lead with 4:43 until halftime.
The Mocs continued the long run until right before halftime as McLean connected on a pair of free throws to give UTC a 36-27 halftime advantage. Chattanooga closed out the final nine minutes of the first half on a 25-5 run.
“I was really proud of our guys because it was not going well out of the gate,” said head coach Matt McCall. “We were down 11, 22-11, and the first half ends 36-27 with our advantage. The last nine minutes of the first half we allowed just five points. That showed me that we really locked in defensively and our guys did a tremendous job. It was a total team victory and I’m really proud of our guys.”
Chattanooga’s lead reached 12 early in the second half but then Wofford’s impressive three-point shooting started to show. Wofford hit a pair of three pointers to cut the Mocs lead to 51-46 with 10:33 left to play.
The Mocs would then go on a 13-0 run to take a 64-46 lead with 6:34 remaining in the second half. Wofford closed out the game by hitting its last four three-pointers and finished the game shooting 10-for-19 from three-point range.
“Very proud of our defense,“ said coach McCall. “Holding Wofford to just 27 points in the first half was really impressive. They are an explosive offense and score a lot of points from the three-point line. I was just really happy about our team defense.”
Chattanooga was led by McLean who added 23 points, five rebounds, three assists and shot 10-for-11 from the free throw line. Senior Justin Tuoyo, Fayetteville, Ga., added 17 points and five rebounds. Senior Casey Jones, New Orleans, La., scored 14 points and added six rebounds off the bench for UTC.
The Mocs improved to 11-4 overall and 2-1 in SoCon play with the win over Wofford. Chattanooga has a quick turnover as the Furman Paladins come to McKeznie Arena on Saturday, Jan. 7. Tip off is set for 5 p.m. and the game will be aired on ESPN3.