Mocs Falter Late In Defeat At Citadel

  • Sunday, February 25, 2024
 Leading by five with a few minutes remaining, the Chattanooga Mocs men's basketball team went scoreless down the stretch and surrendered a 14-0 closing run during an eventual 71-62 loss at The Citadel in Southern Conference action on Saturday inside McAlister Fieldhouse in Charleston, S.C.
 
Following the loss, Chattanooga falls to 19-10 on the season and 11-5 inside league play, solely putting itself in third place (one game up on Furman) with two games left. The Citadel improves to 11-19 overall and 3-13 in SoCon action after the win.
 
"Yeah, it was certainly disappointing.
That was really hard to take, that 14-0 run at that point in the game. They were more physical and everything. I'm more bothered about how we played through it," said head coach Dan Earl after the game.
 
"As hard as this for me to say, we got what we deserved. That's all credit to The Citadel. They were stronger, quicker to the ball, they played their tails off. It was upsetting throughout and especially the last three minutes."

HOW IT HAPPENED
Honor Huff knocked down a three at the 17:04 mark of the early going to give Chattanooga a 10-5 lead before The Citadel answered with an 11-0 run over the next three-plus minutes to take a 16-10 lead. The Mocs and Bulldogs found themselves locked at 18-18 on a Randy Brady corner triple with 7:59 left in the half.
 
Huff connected on his second three of the day to put UTC ahead 21-20 before another finish at the rim and an open Myles Che layup gave the guests a 25-20 edge with 4:48 on the board. After a Citadel free-throw, Tyler Millin accounted for five-straight points to up the lead to 30-21 (3:25) before threes from Trey Bonham and Jan Zidek made it 36-26 (1:49).
 
Chattanooga entered the break with the ten-point advantage after both teams went scoreless over the final 1:49. The Mocs knocked down six triples in the half while shooting 44.8% (13-of-29) from the field in total.
 
It was all The Citadel out of the locker room as the hosts scored 15 of the half's first 22 points to cut the double-digit deficit to just two, 43-41, with 15:13 left in the contest. Not much scoring occurred over the next few minutes as a Huff three at the top of the key before a Sam Alexis bucket down low gave UTC a 51-44 lead with over 10-and-a-half minutes remaining.
 
The Bulldogs responded with five-straight points to make it 51-49 before eventually clawing its way within one, 54-53 (7:42). Huff connected on a fastbreak three to push it back to four, 57-53 (7:02), before an easy hoop for the home team brought it back to two, 57-55 (5:50).
 
Randy Brady came up with two offensive boards and eventually finished with a tough basket at the rim to put the lead back to five, 62-57 (3:34), before The Citadel ended with an emphatic rally. The home team held the Mocs scoreless from that point on and ended the game on a 14-0 run to claim a 71-62 victory.
 
RECORDS/SERIES – Chattanooga 19-10, 11-5 SoCon · The Citadel 11-18, 3-13 SoCon · Series: UTC now leads the all-time series 73-21.

THREE KEY NOTES | MORE
- Chattanooga led for 25:39 in the contest while The Citadel held an edge for 11:33… UTC dropped to 16-2 this season when leading at the break after holding a 36-26 lead… now 30-7 in the Dan Earl era when leading at half.
 
- The Citadel ended the game on a 14-0 run over the final 3:34 after Chattanooga held a 62-57 lead on a Randy Brady bucket… UTC went 0-of-4 from the floor with four turnovers during the stretch.
 
Honor Huff scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-19 FG (5-of-13 3PT)… fourth-straight 20+ point scoring effort… 34 made 3PT FG's over last six games (5.67 per game)… surpassed 500 points (510) on the year… passed Matt Ryan (507, 2019-20) for 24th in most single-season points in program history… up to 98 total 3PTM this year… fourth-most in program history.

QUOTABLE | MORE
HC Dan Earl on focusing on the little things.
"It was right there. You try to explain to the guys, little things happen like dribbling off your foot or losing the ball, that's not the end of the world. It's not ideal, but it's not the end of the world. Some stuff is going to happen like that. Then you see later, we take a step-back three because we're tight in a close game down the stretch. You have to be solid and do the right things, regardless of the status of the game. You have to play the right way offensively and defensively and good things will happen."

NEXT UP – vs. Mercer – Wednesday, February 28 – 7:00 p.m. ET – McKenzie Arena – ESPN+ – BUY TICKETS
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