Chattanooga Mocs Men’s Basketball Uses Strong Defensive Effort to Down UNC Asheville, 75-45

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team featured four players in double digits, led by a career-high 20 from Darius Banks, and used a stingy defensive effort to race past UNC Asheville 75-45 in its home opener on Sunday afternoon in McKenzie Arena.

Chattanooga improves to 2-0 on the season following the victory on the opening day of the Coke Zero Sugar Classic presented by 3H Group and Springhill Suites Downtown Chattanooga. UNC Ashville falls to 1-2 overall on the year.

“The game speaks for itself regarding the defensive side of the ball. If you are going to do that defensively, then we might have a chance to beat the Lakers,” head coach Lamont Paris laughed about in his post-game presser.

“We didn’t shoot great, but I can’t say enough for what we did defensively. If we didn’t allow those buckets at the end of the first half, we would’ve kept them in the teens. If you can do that in an NCAA game, you’re doing something right.”

Chattanooga raced out to a 12-2 lead out of the gates after a Silvio De Sousa driving slam through the paint opened the game’s scoring. UNCA pulled within nine at 16-7 before UTC rolled on a pair of transition slams from De Sousa to extend the lead to 22-7 with 8:04 left in the half.

The Mocs would keep the defensive clamps on the free-running Bulldogs throughout the first half. UTC limited UNCA to a 28.6% (8-for-28) field goal percentage and a lowly 11.1% (1-for-9) tally from behind the arc to help build a 35-18 lead headed into the break.

It would remain all Chattanooga in the second half as the hosts out-scored the visitors 21-11 over the first nine minutes to extend out to a sizable 56-29 lead with 11:01 on the clock. David Jean-Baptiste and Darius Banks combined to score 15 of the 21 points over that stretch.

The defense continued its ferocious efforts down the stretch on its quest to a 75-45 victory. The Mocs held the Bulldogs to a 30.2% (16-for-53) field goal percentage for the game and finished with a 49-24 advantage on the glass. In addition, the points in the paint tally favored UTC, 46-20.

Banks led the team with a game-high 20 points, a career-high for his time at UTC, while Jean-Baptiste (14), De Sousa (11) and Grant Ledford (11) all reached double digits. KC Hankton added six points and a team-best nine boards.