The Chattanooga Mocs were in the pole position down the stretch but could not hold off UNC Greensboro in a 74-66 loss. It came down to a burst at the end for the Spartans.
Darius Banks led all scorers with 18 points. David Jean-Baptiste had 13 points and five assists, while Malachi Smith scored 12 to go with six rebounds. Angelo Allegri paced UNCG with 17 as Jarrett Hensley tallied 12 off the bench.
A thunderous Banks dunk gave the Mocs their largest lead of nine, 57-48, with 7:50 left in the game. He blew by his defender and powered through the help side to seemingly put an exclamation point on the matinee affair.
The Spartans responded in a big way scoring on their next 11 possessions. That 26-7 run over seven minutes of clock time completely flipped the scoreboard to 74-64 inside a minute to go. KC Hankton scored on the offensive glass with 29.6 remaining.
“We made a run, we got to that point, and they responded,” Coach Lamont Paris noted. “You just can’t have an elongated run like that. It’s basketball, it’s a game of runs. You have to be able to stop the bleeding.
“You have to make it happen, manufacture it sometimes. Defensive rebounds do that a lot of the time.”
The Mocs pressed and forced an Isaiah Miller turnover with 25 seconds on the clock. Hankton’s ensuing three was off the mark, Miller rebounded and the Spartans dribbled out the clock for the win.
Chattanooga got misses on the defensive end but couldn’t turn them into stops on the defensive end. The 15 offensive rebounds by UNCG ties a season high for an opponent in 2020-21 and led to 20 second chance points.
“We didn’t rebound well as a team and that’s frustrating because we knew coming in they were a good rebounding team and we didn’t stick to the game plan,” Banks shared in the postgame press conference. “I think that’s the most frustrating part of today. It was so much of an instance that we went over it for an hour, just offensive rebounding. I guess you can do stuff in practice, but you have to apply it in the game. The game is what matters. We failed to do that today.”
Chattanooga hits the road for the next three starting Wednesday night at ETSU. The 7 p.m., tipoff is on ESPN+ and over the airwaves in Chattanooga via WFLI 97.7 FM and 1070 AM.