The Chattanooga Mocs got a combined 42 points from its starting backcourt to claim a 78-66 Southern Conference win at Wofford Wednesday night. That included identical 21-point totals from David Jean-Baptiste and Malachi Smith along with a stout defensive effort.
Stefan Kenić added 16 points in the festivities with Jean-Baptiste leading the board efforts with seven and Smith topping the assist charts with a game-high seven. The Mocs owned a seven-rebound advantage on the glass (34/27). Morgan Safford paced the Terriers with 18.
It was all Mocs from the start. They took the lead 40 seconds into the game and never looked back. It reached 10 at the 14:16 mark with Smith’s triple making it 16-6. Twenty took a little longer. It was Jean-Baptiste’s turn with a floater in the lane which put him over the 1,200-point plateau for his career along with a 44-24 score.
The largest lead of 23 came from Smith again on his own strong work in the paint. It was 49-26 and felt out of reach, but you take nothing for granted on the road in Southern Conference play. The lead remained 20 at 4:17 on a Kenić post move.
The Terriers made the most of some leaky play late to cut the lead to 12 in the end. A lot of that came from Keaton Turner who had 14 points in just under 13 minutes of playing time, all in the second. As strong an effort as the Mocs got on the offensive end, it was the defensive effort that held their host below the 50-mark until inside four minutes to play.
“I think we learned from the ETSU game to stay locked in defensively even though you have a (big) lead,” Smith shared. “It’s kind of hard playing with a lead like that with five or six minutes left, they’re playing with nothing to lose and are more confident shooting the ball. You don’t want to play timid so I think we learned from our mistakes in that ETSU game.”
Tonight marks the end of a 3-game road swing while Saturday signals the beginning of a 3-games-in-5-days home stand. It starts with The Citadel at Noon with ETSU (Monday) and Western Carolina (Wednesday) close behind. FANS are also back for the whirlwind stretch of games with 1,000 being allowed in the Roundhouse.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased here or by calling (423) 266-MOCS (6627). Limited supply remains. Student tickets are free (as always) but reservation is required here. All tickets are general admission this season with social distancing required between seat blocks.
The games air on ESPN+ or over the airwaves in Chattanooga via WFLI 97.7 FM and 1070 AM.