GREENSBORO, N.C. --- Z. Mason (Nashville) led a furious comeback effort for the Chattanooga Mocs Sunday afternoon in Greensboro Coliseum. It fell short, however, as Chattanooga dropped a 77-69 decision at UNCG.
Mason tallied a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He and his squad could not overcome the UNCG-record tying 41-point performance by the Spartans’ Trevis Simpson.
UTC trailed by as many as 14 in the second half as two Simpson free throws put UNCG up 48-34 with a little more than 17 minutes to play.
The Mocs bounced back.
Lance Stokes (Orlando, Fla) capped an 11-2 run with an old-fashion three-point play with 11:28 remaining. Stokes had the final five points in the spurt to cut the lead to five, 50-45. He and his mates held the Spartans to just one field goal for nearly six-and-a-half minutes to close the gap.
Jordan Potts’ layup with 7:52 to go made it a 12-point cushion for the Spartans, 60-48. That’s when Mason took over. The burly junior scored 13 of the Mocs next 17 points. He scored inside, outside and at the line.
He made it an eight-point game, 63-55, on a three-pointer with 6:30 left. Two free throws on the next possession made it a six-point affair. His driving layup with 2:57 cut it to four, 67-63. Ronrico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) made a steal on the defensive end leading to a Mason jumper dicing the margin to two, 67-65, with 2:14 to play.
That was as close as it would get for the Mocs. Back-to-back possessions with turnovers doomed Chattanooga’s comeback chances. Simpson and the Spartans made the plays down the stretch to garner the win.
Simpson was sensational. He hit 14 of 25 shots including seven of 13 from beyond the arc while adding seven rebounds to his 41-point total. Nicholas Paulos came off the bench to chip in 11 points, while David Williams posted seven points, nine rebounds and four steals.
White had 15 points, four rebounds and three steals for the Mocs. Gee McGhee (Baton Rouge, La.) added 12 points to go with a career-high six assists. He also had four rebounds and two assists.
Simpson was the story of the game. He scored 27 of his 41 in the first half. He staked the Spartans to a 41-31 halftime advantage.
UTC scored the first seven points of the game as it took five minutes for UNCG to find the bottom of the net. Down 11-4, the Spartans went on a 14-0 run capped by Potts three-ball at 10:51 for the 18-11 lead. That swelled to 13, 32-19, with 5:15 left on one of six Simpson first-half treys.
Chattanooga battled back. Farad Cobb’s (West Palm Beach, Fla.) three and two Sam Watson (Knoxville) free throws made it a seven-point game going into the half’s final possession. UNCG ran the clock down and Simpson drained a 28-footer with two seconds left to send the Spartans into the break ahead 10.
The Mocs reach the mid-way point in the SoCon schedule next week at Georgia Southern. The squad plays Saturday with a 7:30 p.m., scheduled start. Listen to the play-by-play from "Voice of the Mocs" Jim Reynolds on ESPN 105.1 the Zone in Chattanooga, or world-wide on GoMocs.com. MocsVision has the live audio (free) action online.
The second half of the conference slate includes six home games and three on the road. For tickets, call 266-MOCS (6627) or go online at gomocs.com
and select the tickets tab. Legends Weekend is Feb. 9 with former Mocs and Lady Mocs stars honored during a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. UTC celebrates Jim Reynolds’ 1,000 games behind the microphone on Thursday, Feb. 21.