Men’s Basketball Turns Cold in Second Half Loss

The Chattanooga Mocs dropped a disappointing 77-59 loss to Wofford in McKenzie Arena Saturday afternoon. It was the exact opposite of Wednesday’s come-from-behind win over Mercer.

The Mocs led by as many as 14 late in the first half and carried a 35-22 advantage into the break. That held up nearly to the midpoint of the deciding 20 when Malachi Smith’s drive made it a 46-38 lead at 12:17.

Wofford answered with a 10-0 spurt to take its first lead since early in the contest, 48-46, on Storm Murphy’s triple on a possession extended on the offensive glass. Josh Ayeni hit two free throws before David Jean-Baptiste went coast-to-coast reclaiming the lead with 7:49 on the clock.

It was 52-all with 6:24 to go after two Smith free throws. The Terriers closed it out with a 25-7 scoring 16 of their last 20 at the free throw line. Coach Lamont Paris didn’t mince words.

“I think it was passive, but then you realize that you were just passive and think that you have to do something because you should have already. Then the defense has adjusted, and you put your head down and the little window you had is clogged up. Now you’re driving into a place where the help is there.

“I thought we were careless in that area. There were times where it was a delayed reaction instead of an instantaneous reaction to what’s in front of you and I think that hurt us.”

Smith led the Mocs with 15 points and seven rebounds. Darius Banks added 11 points and seven boards as well with 13 points from Jean-Baptiste and another 11 from Ayeni. Murphy paced Wofford with 23 as Morgan Safford added 19.

The Mocs head to Birmingham Wednesday to square off with Samford. The 8 p.m., Eastern time, matchup broadcasts on ESPN+ and over the airwaves in Chattanooga via WFLI 97.7 FM and 1070 AM.