Mocs Blow Big Lead Over Charleston To Suffer 1st Loss; Women Fall To Georgia State

Saturday, November 27, 2021 - by Joseph Dycus
Darius Banks goes in for a jam
Darius Banks goes in for a jam
- photo by Joseph Dycus

Malachi Smith and David Jean-Baptiste, a veteran backcourt that has been in every situation imaginable over the course of their lengthy collegiate careers, converged upon Charleston's Fah’Mir Ali with about 15 seconds to go. The Mocs were trailing by two and were trapping in order to induce a steal or a foul. A few seconds earlier, Silvio De Sousa had been called for a lane violation on a free throw after being pushed across the line.


Now forced to play defense, Smith gathered the loose ball and drove down the baseline.

As he played the ball up softly off the glass, the scoreboard went to 66-66 as the raucous UTC crowd witnessed the epitome of “ball don’t lie.” It was a heart-pounding closing seconds to a game that had just a half-hour later looked like a laugher. But it ended with the first loss of the season for Chattanooga, 68-66. 


The Mocs had rushed out of halftime on a scoring spree. The explosive De Sousa had run off a couple of ball screens for a pair of powerful slams, and when Darius Banks canned a triple with 15 minutes left, the Mocs led 46-32 and were on the verge of being ranked. That’s when everything was put in reverse by the Charleston Cougars.


Dimitrius Underwood picked off Jean-Baptiste for a layup, and then Reyne Smith put in a triple to cut the lead to single-digit. The next five minutes went like that, and at the 9:08 mark, John Meek’s short mid-range shot in front of a UTC shot blocker made it 20 unanswered Charleston points.


“There were some normal plays. Normal buckets by them, normal missed shots by us.,” coach Lamont Paris said. “I mean we gave up pick sixes. Those were free points and there was a lot of not being strong with the ball. There were a lot of things that contributed to the run. They were scoring and we weren't.”


A triple by Jean-Baptiste became the first UTC score in over seven minutes, and then the teams went back and forth. When the Mocs trailed 64-58 with 2:41 left, the Mocs once again rallied. De Sousa, who scored 21, hit a pair of free throws before Banks stripped Ali and slammed two in the basket. De Sousa used his size to move bodies out of the way and put back a Smith miss.


After Reyne Smith’s jumper and Malachi Smith’s clutch steal, the Mocs needed one more stop. They got that stop when De Sousa (who had three blocks) influenced a shot at the rim. But Underwood got the rebound and tipped it in. UTC’s “Hail Mary” fullcourt pass was incomplete, and the Mocs were no longer undefeated.


“They’re a scrappy team and they play physical, and I think that was a factor for us,” coach Paris said. “They were being really physical on cuts. All of this freedom of movement I hear about that’s improving the game, I didn’t see a lot of freedom of movement.”




COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON                25     43  –    68

CHATTANOOGA                                   34     32   –   66


COUGARS (68) – Reyne Smith 18, John Meeks 12, Dimitrius Underwood 12, Ali Fah’Mir 10, Babacar Faye 6, Charles Lampten 4, Nick Farrar 4, Brenden Tucker 2


MOCS (66) –  Silvio De Sousa 21, David Jean-Baptiste 18, Darius Banks 11, Malachi Smith 5, Grant Ledford 5, Jamaal Walker 2, Josh Ayeni 2, Avery Diggs 2


3-POINT GOALS: Cougars 6 (Reyne Smith 4, Meeks 1, Fah’Mir 1);  MOCS 7 (Jean-Baptiste 4, Banks 2, Ledford 1).




As the seconds ticked away in the first half, Sigrun Olafsdottir slipped to the basket unmarked. Without the ball in her hands, the Georgia State defense probably didn’t see her as much of a threat. That assumption was a mistake, as the Icelandic point guard caught the ball and used her right hand to put in a tying two-points to close out the half.


The 77-66 game was an up-and-down contest filled with quick scores, pressing defenses, turnovers, and fouls, and more turnovers. Center Abbey Cornelius had the paint on lockdown, with a Panther team that already seemed to favor taking pullup threes forced to double down on that strategy after Cornelius contested almost every shot in the paint and grabbed double-digit rebounds. The first quarter ended 21-19 as both teams pushed the ball in transition.


In the second and third quarters, reserve forward Karsen Murphy and starting guard Dena Jarrells helped the Mocs keep pace with Taylor Henderson and the Panthers. Jarrells made the offense run on drives from the wing, and Murphy looked comfortable taking the ball from the perimeter and into the paint when she caught it in space.


“I’d say one of the mistakes I made today was not putting Karsen Murphy back in the game today because the kid was killing it,” Mocs coach Katie Burrows said. “She was 4-4 with six rebounds, no fouls or turnovers and one blocked shot. She was getting things done, and I should have looked back at her.”


Another off-ball cut and lay-in by Olafsdottir cut the Georgia State lead to 56-54 heading into the final quarter. Maintaining momentum  was difficult for the Mocs though, since it seemed that anytime the Mocs would make a great play, the team would follow it up with a turnover. But with five minutes to go in the game, a corner triple by Jarrells cut the Panther lead to just one.


An Ashley Foster pushed that small deficit back to four, and then a turnover by the Mocs gave the ball back to the Panthers. Then Olafsdottir made an and-one layup to make it a one point game once again. But those dreaded turnovers and a few missed shots doomed the Mocs to a loss, dropping them to 1-5 on the season. If there was another culprit for the loss aside from 21 turnovers, it was a ghastly 2-21 shooting percentage from three.


“For some reason, we don’t understand that sticking to the game plan of reversing the ball and getting paint touches works for us,” coach Burrows said. “We’re just not there yet.”




GEORGIA STATE                      19     14     23     21  –    77

CHATTANOOGA                       21     16     17     12   –   66


PANTHERS (77) – Taniyah Worth 16, Taylor Henderson 15, Nyla Jean 9, Dziak 6, Foster 10, Merrill 6, Bell 4, Phillip 3, Lyons 2, Tolivert 6


MOCS (66) –  Sigrun Olafsdottir 13, Dena Jarrells 12, Brooke Hampel 8, Karsen Murphy 8, Addie Porter 8, Abbey Cornelius 9, Destiny McClendon 4, Amaria Pugh 2, Leah Jones 2


3-POINT GOALS: PANTHERS 7 (Worth 3, Dizak 2, Foster 1, Philip 1);  MOCS 2 (Jarrells 2).

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