UTC Men’s Basketball Drops Road Game At Murray State

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team allowed 53 second half points and saw an 11-point first half lead evaporate during an 87-76 loss on the road at Murray State inside the CFSB Center on Saturday evening.

Following the loss, Chattanooga has lost its last two and falls to 9-3 this season. Murray State improves to 10-1. UTC and MSU entered the game No. 7 and No. 10, respectively, in the latest Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.

The Mocs held a three-point lead at the half, 39-36, before momentum turned in favor of the home team in the second half. A tough environment to play in, Murray State has now won its last 22 games at home against non-conference competition.

“It was two good teams. I don’t have any issue with how hard we played, we wanted to win and felt that,” said head coach Lamont Paris postgame.

“I felt that energy. Now transferring that into what you do on the court is the challenging part. You must channel that desire into discipline.”

Chattanooga jumped out to a 13-8 lead with 14:50 left in the opening half after David Jean-Baptiste knocked down a pair of threes in the early going. The two treys were accompanied by two Malachi Smith buckets and a Josh Ayeni fadeaway jay.

Murray State answered with the next six points to grab a 14-13 lead with 11:54 left in the half, a 6-0 run that was capped off by a Tevin Brown four-point play in the corner. Jean-Baptiste connected on his third three in as many attempts to halt the run with 10:57.

After leading 16-14, Chattanooga rolled on a 12-2 run highlighted by a three from Jamaal Walker and baskets from Smith and Silvio De Sousa to force the Racers to call timeout with 8:10 left in the half up by a 26-18 count. The Mocs grew the lead to 11, 34-23 at the 3:24 mark, before allowing a 11-3 run to close the half to ultimately hold a 37-34 lead at the break.

The Mocs shot an even 50.0% (13-for-26) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes while limiting the hosts to a 38.2% (13-of-34) tally. UTC turned the ball over seven times in the half and in result, trailed the points off turnover category 10-0.

Murray State opened the second half connecting on four of their first five attempts from three to take a 48-47 lead with 14:35 remaining. Smith scored eight points himself during that hot shooting span to keep things within a possession. Two more Smith free throws put UTC back in front 58-57 at the 9:48 mark, but that would be the last lead for the guests.

Back-and-forth action saw the teams separated by two, 70-68 MSU, with under five minutes left to play. From that point, the Racers responded with a 14-0 run to pull away 84-68 with just 1:29 on the clock, eventually clinching its way to an 87-76 final.
Smith finished with a career-high 36 points on 14-of-17 shooting including a perfect 7-for-7 performance at the free throw, in addition to bringing down six boards. Jean-Baptiste ended with 12 points, all on three balls, while the team save seven-point efforts from De Sousa and Ayeni.

Chattanooga finished with a 50.0% (29-for-58) tally from the field which bested Murray State’s mark of 48.4% (31-for-64), however, the Racers knocked down 37.9% (11-for-29) of its shots from beyond the arc in comparison to UTC’s 30.8% (8-for-26) clip.