By Jake Moore, Staff Writer —
The Mocs win streak ends after dropping two consecutive games on their South Carolina road matchups with Furman and Wofford.
In the first game of the roadtrip against Furman, the Mocs were blown out in a 58-73 loss.
“They had really quick hands,” said head coach Lamont Paris said to gomocs.com. “Apparently a lot quicker than what we had thought coming in. They were very good at using them tonight too. We just have to be better. I wasn’t mad at the guys at all, I was a little disappointed in the play, but bottom line was we didn’t make enough plays. Things weren’t going in our favor because they were so physical. They were quicker to the ball and faster than us in certain areas.”
Four of Furman’s players scored double digits, while only one Moc scored reached that tally–Jerry Johnson Jr., Memphis.
“His emotions come through and most of the time it’s for the better,” said Paris. “It normally helps us all. I thought he really competed hard tonight and made some plays for us. I thought he kept his head inside the game and was very realistic about the certain situations he was in. He played a lot of minutes for us and I thought he was good for the team tonight.”
Johnson led the Mocs with 13 points but his contributions went beyond his point total. Johnson recorded three assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Despite the tough loss, the Mocs looked ahead to their next matchup against Wofford.
“We have a big game at Wofford coming up and we just have to move on.” Johnson said “We need to keep doing what we’re doing to try and win these next couple games.”
In game two of the South Carolina SOCON road trip, the Mocs fell to Wofford, 69-80–despite a great shooting performance by the Mocs.
The opening of the game was a close affair.
Reigning SOCON player of the week, Kevin Easley, Indianapolis, dropped nine points in the first half but also recorded six boards in the first for the Mocs.
Three point shooting was a big factor in why the first half was such a close affair. The Mocs shot just under 54 percent from 3PT range. Jonathan Scott, Monument, Colo., shot 2-2 from beyond the arc in the first half, contributing to the Mocs’ total of seven shots made for three.
Despite the excellent shooting performance, Wofford finished the half with a 32-31 advantage.
The Mocs took the lead shortly after tip-off in the second half thanks to several great possessions by Easley.
However, Wofford went on a 20-5 run that through the Mocs out of rhythm.
“You have to put your foot down,” said Paris. “At some point, you just have to put your foot down. 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. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, we make them do something different, then they’re second guessing their game plan.”
The Mocs could not fully regroup from Wofford’s impressive run and fell short to the Terriers, 69-80.
Despite the two road losses, the Mocs will have a chance at revenge with the final two games of the SOCON regular season, as both Wofford and Furman will travel to Chattanooga.
“You get to have another chance.” Paris said “That’s the beauty of this league. Everyone gets two shots at each other. I told them to remember everything that happened in that game and let it fuel you for the next time you see them on your home floor.”
The Mocs drop to 10-12 on the season and 5-4 in the Southern Conference. The Mocs will head home to face Western Carolina Jan. 31.