Chattanooga Mocs (2-5) senior Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) scored 20 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, but it was not enough to turn back a hot-shooting Morehead State (6-2) squad. The Eagles shot 72.3 percent (34-47) for the game to turn back the Mocs 88-75 in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
Mason had a sensational shooting night of his own hitting eight of 10 shots including three of four beyond the arc. He scored 11 points in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second half to cut the lead to five, 55-50, with 15:32 to play.
Morehead State answered Mason’s start with a 10-1 run for a 14-point advantage, 65-51, on Billy Reader’s layup with 12:05 to go. Mason’s tip-in of a Lance Stokes (Orlando, Fla.) miss at 10:23 made it a 10-points game, 65-55.
But that’s as close as it would get. The Eagles scored on six of nine possessions to take control of the game. Kareem Storey’s layup at 5:55 stretched the margin to 20, 77-57. The Mocs battled back with Gee McGhee’s (Baton Rouge, La.) three-pointer late providing the final score of 88-75.
“Their point guard (Storey) is a good player,” Chattanooga Head Coach Will Wade said. “He first signed with Utah of the Pac-12. We were able to turn him over a couple of times and frustrated him, but we couldn’t keep him out of the paint.
“Our half-court defense seemed to get driven on from any spot,” Wade continued. “We gave up too many easy looks to them. Morehead is a really good team. They are the second best team we’ve played. I thought we did some good things, but we didn’t do enough. You can’t give up that many easy shots and expect to win.”
Angelo Warner led MSU with 22 points, while Billy Reader came off the bench for 21 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Storey added 16 points, and Chad Posthumus chipped in 11 points and seven boards.
The Eagles had a 29-17 advantage on the glass, in part because of their shooting display. MSU shot 82.6 percent making 19 of 23 in the second half.
Chattanooga posted its best shooting night against a DI opponent this season. It made 50.9 percent from the floor, 57.1 percent (16-28) in the second half. McGhee had 18 points and five assists, while Greg Pryor (Memphis, Tenn.) added 10 points.
The Mocs take on IUPUI in first game Friday. Tipoff is at 3:30 p.m., Eastern time. Listen live on ESPN 105.1 FM the Zone in Chattanooga. Links to audio (free) and live stats can be accessed on GoMocs.com, and fans can follow @GoMocsMBB on twitter for live updates.