Moc Hoopsters Win 80-69 At Charlotte
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Jerry Johnson, Jr., led a quartet of Chattanooga Mocs in double figures with 18 in an 80-69 season-opening victory at Charlotte. The 11-point winning margin is the third-largest on the road after the 82-69 win at Tennessee to begin 2016-17 and an 85-73 win at Mississippi State in 1991.
The Mocs led by as many as 15 in the second half. Charlotte and its crowd certainly made it a contest. The 49ers closed to within seven points three times in the final six-and-a-half minutes only to have the Gig City lads answer time and again.
Malik Martin’s free throws with 6:32 left cut the margin to 62-55.
After a turnover, the Mocs got a defensive stop and then a strong layup from Maurice Commander. Dravon Mangum got it back to seven, 64-57, before back-to-back threes from Donnovan Toatley and Thomas Smallwood extended it back to double digits, 70-59.
Four straight points from Jon Davis, who led all scorers with 31, gave a perilous feel on the road with a youthful squad. But two of the older Mocs, graduate transfer Smallwood and junior transfer Johnson were not going to let it get away as Johnson’s jumper with 2:15 to go got the lead back to nine, 72-63.
"It was really weird,” Johnson recalled. “They were very rowdy and talking. Next thing you know, we turn it over and they score, and I think the next possession we turned it over again and it got really crazy. Thomas said a word to me, he told me we need my composure. I came down and found a way to get to the hole and get an and-one. After that, it was just coming back to reality.
“We've been playing in these type of moments our entire life. It was nothing new to us."
There were stops down the stretch and an 8-8 run at the free throw line between Toatley and Kevin Easley to ice the win. Toatley ended up with 17, while Smallwood (14) and Easley (13) also reached double figures along with Johnson’s 18.