Mocs Come Back To Beat Jacksonville State To Win The Emerald Coast Classic
Saturday, November 30, 2019
The Chattanooga Mocs won the 2019 Emerald Coast Classic with a 63-60 nail-biter over Jacksonville State. The Mocs came back from nine down late in the first half to lead by as many as nine late before holding on for the 63-60 victory.
Matt Ryan (18) and Jonathan Scott (15) combine for 33 points to pace Chattanooga. Jacara Cross had a game-high 19 for the Gamecocks with Ty Hudson adding 12.
The key spurt began with 7:05 to go in the first half. Maros Zeliznak put JSU ahead by nine, 23-14.
The Mocs locked down defensively. They held the Gamecocks scoreless for nearly nine minutes aiding a flip of script. It started a 39-21 spurt as two Stefan Kenic free throws put the Mocs up nine, 53-44, at the 4:28 mark.
“These guys are young,” Coach Lamont Paris said. “They’re fragile at times. Just to see that number get flipped, there’s no inspiration better than when you come out in the second half and take care of business like that.”
The two teams traded buckets before the Gamecocks stormed back. It took just 2:44 to get the game even again at 55-all after three straight scores from Cross. Scott quelled the tide with a three-pointer late in the shot clock to right the ship.
The Mocs won the free throw contest the rest of the way for the win. There was tension. Leading 61-58, Chattanooga fouled with 3.0 seconds to go to take away the ability to tie on a three. De’Torrion Ware made both free throws then JSU quickly fouled David Jean-Baptiste on the in-bounds pass with 1.8 on the clock. He calmly sank two free throws and Derek St. Hilaire’s half-court heave was off the mark for the final tally.
"It's just good to come down here and get two wins in two days and bring a championship back," Ryan shared. "Just keep building, it's good for our confidence."
It’s the 37th regular season title for Chattanooga. That dates back to the start of the 1977-78 season the first at the DI level for the program. Jean-Baptiste was named to the all-tournament team.
“Our execution was pretty good,” Scott added. “We had a little problem getting to the ball, getting rebounds. We needed to do a little better in that regard. Our leadership is what stepped up. We played well when Matt [Ryan] was pushing us to be better, and that helped for sure.”
The Mocs 5-game road show concludes Tuesday with the Southern Conference opener against Western Carolina. After approximately 2,000 miles of travel over a two-week period, the Mocs come home on Dec. 8 to take on Tennessee Wesleyan. Tickets are available on GoMocs.com or by calling (423) 266-MOCS (6627).