The Chattanooga Mocs got double-doubles from Malachi Smith and KC Hankton to out-last The Citadel 70-66 in McKenzie Arena Saturday afternoon. The duo combined for 30 points and 21 boards to stave off the Bulldogs own combo of Hayden Brown and Derek Webster, Jr.’s 24 points and 25 rebounds.
The matchup kept a familiar tone. The Mocs raced out early leading by as many as 13 in the first half, then The Citadel clawed back. Brown’s three-point play with 17:16 to go gave the Bulldogs their first advantage. It reached five, 47-42, on a Fletcher Abee jumper. The hosts had enough.
Chattanooga sped off on a 14-0 run capped by Smith going coast-to-coast to flip it to a nine-point lead, 56-47. They scored on six straight possessions and again looked firmly in control stretching it to 11, 66-55, on a Darius Banks layup.
It was a slow and steady ride back for the Charleston brigade. Smith’s layup had the lead at eight, 68-60, with 1:55 on the clock. Kaiden Rice, the game’s top scorer with 22, scored in the midrange followed by a Webster layup inside a minute to narrow the gap to four. The Mocs closed those final seconds 2-5 at the free throw line but made defensive stops when needed to escape with the win.
“Our guys like drama, that’s for sure,” Coach Lamont Paris smiled after the game. “I thought we had some chances towards the end to have a finish that favored us that involved less drama. The guys did a phenomenal job defensively. I can’t say enough about that.
“We’ve been able to defend, and that gives you a chance to win.”
Banks joined Smith and Hankton in double figures with 12 adding three assists and two blocks. Seven Mocs scored six on more points contributing to the victory. Abee added 10 for the Bulldogs.
Today was the beginning a 3-game home stand. The contests come in rapid succession with ETSU in the Roundhouse on Monday night and Western Carolina Wednesday. 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.