CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The Chattanooga Mocs (9-14/4-6) cruised to an 89-76 home win over The Citadel (6-16/3-9) in McKenzie Arena Thursday night. Gee McGhee (Baton Rouge, La.) tallied a career-high 22 points to pace five Mocs in double figures in the Southern Conference inter-division matchup.
UTC led by as many as 16 in the second half as Z. Mason's (Nashville, Tenn.) emphatic slam in traffic at 10:51 made it 70-54 for the home team. The Bulldogs clawed their way back getting within nine, 78-69, on Raemond Robinson's trey at 5:18. It was an eight-point affair, 80-72, following two P.J. Horgan free throws with 4:01 to play.
But the Mocs would not be denied. McGhee's old-fashioned three-point play was followed by two Ronrico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) free throws to extend the lead back to 13, 85-72, with 1:41 left. McGhee made it a 16-point game again with two free throws just inside a minute to go, 89-73. Horgan's three-pointer with 42 ticks remaining ended the scoring providing the 89-76 final.
Horgan was phenomenal offensively for The Citadel. He had game highs with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Groselle added 19 points and seven boards. The duo combined to shoot 16 of 22 (72.7%) from the field, while their teammates managed just 37.0 percent (10-27).
McGhee led five total Mocs in double digits. White had 19 to go with five rebounds and three assists. Drazen Zlovaric (Novi Sad, Serbia) had 18 points and seven rebounds, while Mason scored all of his 14 points after intermission. Martynas Bareika (Kedainiai, Lithuania) scored 12 points off the bench. McGhee added seven rebounds, tying Zlovaric for game-high honors, and four assists.
Chattanooga dominated the "game-inside-the-game" tonight. It held a 52-38 advantage on points in the paint, 23-5 on points off turnovers and 22-8 on second chance points. The UTC pressure defense forced 16 Bulldogs miscues, while committing just eight of its own on the offensive end.
The Mocs shot 52.3 percent from the field for the game, 42.9 percent (6-14) from three-point range. The 52.3 percent, which came on 34 of 65 shooting, is the second-highest on the season in SoCon (57.8 percent at Samford) play.
Zlovaric keyed a big start for the Mocs. He scored eight of the first 12 points out of the gate as UTC led by eight, 17-9, at the 14:32 mark. The Citadel battled back to within two, 19-17, on a Horgan layup. The lead swelled to nine twice on baskets by Zlovaric and McGhee, before the Bulldogs got it back to two, 33-31, on a Matt Van Scyoc jumper with 6:18 to go.
Chattanooga answered with back-to-back three-pointers by White and McGhee to run it out to an eight-point margin. White's triple was made possible by outstanding hustle on the offensive glass by McGhee. White hit two free throws with 5.1 left in the half to provide a seven-point halftime cushion, 44-37.
Tonight was the first of four in a row at home including six of the next seven games in McKenzie Arena. Next up is College of Charleston Saturday at 7:30 p.m., after the Lady Mocs take on Elon at 5.
Legends Weekend is Saturday, February 9, with former Mocs and Lady Mocs stars honored during the doubleheader. For tickets, call 266-MOCS (6627) or go online at GoMocs.com and select the tickets tab.
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