Mocs Fall In Overtime Again
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
--To quote the late, great Yogi Berra, “it’s déjà vu all over again” for the Chattanooga Mocs. They went to the limit and then some in a second overtime loss in a row, this time 75-71 at Mercer.
Rodney Chatman and Nat Dixon led the Mocs with 17 points apiece with Chatman adding six rebounds and eight assists. Makale Foreman chipped in 16 points with David Jean-Baptiste tallying 15. Joshua Phillips grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Jordan Strawberry led the hosts with a game-high 18 points.
Desmond Ringer, 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Stephon Jelks, 10 points and 12 boards, both posted double-doubles.
Marcus Cohen’s layup with 3:46 to play in regulation gave Mercer a 64-58 lead. Foreman took care of that margin in two possessions.
He nailed a three with 3:26 to go. The Mocs got a defensive stop with a Dixon steal of a Cohen pass in the lane. They worked the offense as Foreman came free and tied it 64-all with 2:50 to play.
Chattanooga had two good looks from long range to take the lead, but Jean-Baptiste was just off the mark. The Bears took a 66-64 lead with 1:03 to go on two Strawberry free throws.
Another UTC miss was followed by a strong defensive series. The Mocs called timeout with the ball in the frontcourt and 8.1 seconds remaining.
They got the ball to Foreman a shot fake provided a good look. The high-arcing shot was on line but just a little long. It came hard off the back of the rim.
"It took forever to come off,” Jean-Baptiste shared. “I caught myself staring at the top of the key. Josh, talk about right time and right place. I saw it come off the rim and thought, 'I hope one of our guys grabs it'. It was a crazy play."
One of his guys did grab. Phillips came down with the ball and banked a 10-footer from just outside the paint to send it into overtime.
Foreman got the scoring started with two free throws. Back-to-back Bear baskets sandwiched a Dixon free throw for a 70-69 Mercer lead. It would not trail again.
The Mocs missed three straight shots before Chatman’s layup with 1:13 left cut the lead to two, 73-71. After Jelks missed the front end of the one-and-one, Chatman brought the ball up the floor. He was called for a charge with 24 seconds to go.
Strawberry made two free throws with 17 ticks left. A late three was off the mark and time expired with the Bears escaping with the 75-71 win.
"If Makale's [Foreman] shot goes in we win,” Coach Lamont Paris said. “We still got out-rebounded and out-scored in the paint but, we still would have won. But what a battle. What about these guys?
“If we had seven seniors and veterans and played that hard, I'd be saying sometimes that's how it goes. I don't know if I coached a team, all things considered, that fights and competes this hard. I'm glad I am coaching these guys.
“I'm still not happy we lost, but man, these guys. They just fight. I feel for them about how this turned out."
Mercer led by as many as 10 in the second half going up 55-45 on Ringer’s layup at 9:40. The lead was still nine, 62-53 with 5:50 to go when the Mocs made their move. With three starters playing 45 minutes and another turning in 44, they dug deep to out-score their hosts 13-4 down the stretch missing the win by less than an inch.
The final of three in a row on the road is this Saturday at Wofford. The contest is slated to begin at 7 p.m., on ESPN3.