Photo Gallery Compiled by Troy Stolt, Photo Editor—
By Jake Moore, Men’s Basketball Beat Writer—
With five Mocs scoring double digits, UTC easily took down the Hiwassee Tigers, 95-62.
Jerry “Buckets” Johnson Jr., Memphis, finished the game with an impressive offensive performance of 20 points and two assists.
“My teammates got me open really,” Johnson said. “We came out and ran a screen play for the big man on a diagonal. I set a good screen and two guys went to help my man, so it freed me open at the top of the key. I think that’s what got us started. It was all about being aggressive after that and trying to take good shots.”
Johnson also had a great defensive performance with a total seven blocks and five steals. Those five steals are the most by a Moc since Tre’ McLean’s 2016 performance against Marshall.
“We were just talking about getting stops in successions,” Johnson said. “Not worrying about the offense so much, but just getting stops, and stops, and stops. More than likely, we got steals and those stops ultimately extended our lead.”
Freshman guard Donovann Toatley, Upper Marlboro, MD, also had a remarkable performance of 19 points, three rebound, and three assists.
Sophomore guard David Jean Baptiste, Miami, had an incredible performance from off the bench. Baptise finished the evening with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists.
“He has some experience,” Head coach Lamont Paris said. “He’s one of the more experienced guys on our team, as far as game minutes because he played a lot for us last year. Defensively, he has shown times he can lock in and be disciplined on our rules in what we want to do defensively. He was up and down with that, he’s one of the guys I challenged when I talked about sense of urgency.”
“His effort and energy was pretty good, but sense of urgency when closing out and finishing plays wasn’t that great. When he’s playing within himself and gets it going, he can get it going offensively. He’s one of our better guys in knowing when to attack the rim. He did that today and finished. He can bring some offensive firepower when he has it going.”
Justin Brown, Chicago, finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Brown and Donovann Toatley combined for the nights play of the game when the pair connected for an incredibly alley-oop.
The always reliable freshman forward Kevin Easley, Indianapolis, was the final player to score in double digits for the Mocs as he finished with 11 points.
The Mocs move to 3-5 on the season and the team believes the chemistry is starting to grow tighter.
“It’ll come with time,” Brown said. “At the same time, we all love each other so it’ll make all of our lives easier to gel on the court. I think it’s just overall experience. I think we are the fifth least-experienced team in the country. With everyone gathering minutes and going through adversity together, it’ll make us ready for conference and allow us to gel well.”
The Mocs will stay at home to face the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles Dec 1.