Moctoberfest is a month-long celebration of Chattanooga Mocs men's basketball. It includes historical moments, social media interactions, introduction to UTC's freshmen among the myriad of video tributes and stories.
We start at the start. October 1st is in honor of the Mocs' first DI game in 1977. That opponent dots this year's schedule, Louisiana Tech (Nov. 20).
The Mocs and Bulldogs opened up the 1977 New Orleans Classic on November 24 at the University of New Orleans. The two fought tooth and nail with UTC claiming a 66-64 win in its first game on the big stage.
Not only was it Chattanooga's first DI victory, it was also the first-come-from-behind win of the new era. The Mocs came back from a six-point halftime deficit to top La Tech behind a quartet of double-digit scorers.
Darryl Yarbrough and Mark Merritt led the way with 14 points and five rebounds each. Merritt was six-for-six from the field and a perfect two-for-two at the free throw line.
Keith Parker and William Wright got in the act with 12 apiece. They each grabbed four rebounds as seven UTC student-athletes had four to six boards led by Ron Evans with six.
Victor King paced the Bulldogs with 18 points and nine rebounds. Clinton Sampson posted the first DI double-double on UTC with 13 points and 10 boards. Randy Alexander with 14 points and Dave Simmons with 12 rounded out the top scorers for Louisiana Tech.
The Mocs lost to host New Orleans in the championship game 90-66 the next night. Edsel Brooks had 15 points to lead Chattanooga while Merritt added 11.
UTC went 16-11 in that first DI season, 7-5 in the Southern Conference. Brooks was the scoring leader at 16.1 points per contest. Keith Parker added 15.9 per game followed by William Wright at 14.1 with a team-high 8.4 rebounding average.
Future Hall of Famer Eric Smith got his first taste of collegiate action as a freshman on that squad. He played in 26 of 27 games averaging 4.8 points and 3.8 boards per outing.
See Chattanooga face Louisiana Tech and 17 others this season at McKenzie Arena. Season tickets for a school-record 18-game home slate are available. Call 266-MOCS (6627), go online here at GoMocs.com or stop by the Gate One McKenzie Arena Ticket Office.