(Photo Credit: Dale Rutemeyer/GoMocs.com): Z. Mason tallied 24 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high-tying six blocks in tonight’s win over Appalachian State
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.---It was a fitting ending to the regular season for the Chattanooga Mocs tonight on what was dubbed “Zenior Night” in McKenzie Arena. Senior forward Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) treated the fans to a 24-point, 13-rebound performance leading his squad to a 63-44 win over Appalachian State.
“It was good”, Mason said in his post-game press conference. “The support we have from our fans and our students is great. Watching guys finish the game off is most exciting with us winning. It makes it fun cheering guys who don’t get to play as much.
“Watching guys like Alex and Andrew is just the cherry on top of a win.”
Mason added a career-high-tying six blocks as he edged closer to all-time blocks leader Stanley Lawrence (1980-83). His 124 is just eight behind the “Jessup Giant’s” total of 132.
It was a four-point game early in the second half. Tab Hamilton’s layup drew App State to within 38-34 with 18:06 to play. It was also the last field goal the Mountaineers would muster for more than eight minutes.
The Mocs went on a 12-0 run to take control of the game. Martynas Bareika (Kedainiai, Lithuania) opened and closed the spurt with three-point baskets to stretch the lead to 50-35. It would get no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
Mason’s three-pointer at 6:22 made it an 18-point affair, 57-39. Back-to-back scoring trips by Gee McGhee (Baton Rouge, La.) extended it to 21 points, 61-40, the largest margin of the game. The final tally was 63-44 as the Mocs held App State to its fewest points in a Southern Conference matchup since 43 at Chattanooga on January 11, 1988.
Michael Obacha led the Mountaineers with 11 points and seven rebounds. McGhee and Ronrico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) joined Mason in double digits for the Mocs with 11 and 10, respectively.
Tonight’s story was Mason. He is now ninth in the DI era in scoring with 1,144 points passing Hall of Famer Eric Smith (1978-81) and Alphonso Pugh (2003-06). His 660 rebounds are third sliding by Khalil Hartwell (2006-09).
“He’s had a great season for us,” Head Coach Will Wade said. “He’s been tremendous for us…you hate to lose a good player, a good ambassador for the university. He just laid it on the line and has done a really nice job for our team this season.
“I’m proud of Z he’s worked really hard this season, he worked really hard and he deserves everything that he gets.”
The Mocs were phenomenal on the boards with a 50-32 advantage as Casey Jones (New Orleans, La.) joined Mason in double digits with 10. That led an 18-2 lead on second chance points. It was a season-high for rebounds and rebound margin (+18).
It’s on to the SoCon Championship in Asheville, N.C. The tournament is March 7-10 with all 11 teams in attendance. Chattanooga is off until Saturday, March 8. As the No. 2 seed, they take on the winner of No. 7 Georgia Southern and No. 10 Furman at 6 p.m.
Listen to the game live on ESPN 105.1 FM the Zone in the Scenic City, or go to the men’s basketball schedule page on GoMocs.com for links to ESPN3.com broadcast, audio (free) and live stats. You can follow @GoMocsMBB on twitter for live updates as well.GoMocs.com is the official website of the Chattanooga Mocs. The Mocs can also be followed on their official Facebook page or on Twitter. Find out how to join the UTC Mocs Club and support more than 300 student-athletes by clicking here.