CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The Chattanooga Mocs (2-8) battled back from a double-digit deficit before losing 63-53 to Mercer (6-5) Sunday afternoon in McKenzie Arena. Chattanooga was sparked by freshman walk-on Alex Bran (Memphis, Tenn.).
Bran entered the game at the 15:01 mark of the second half with his team down 16, 41-25. He scored five points on back-to-back possessions sparking a 10-0 run that ended at 12:52 with a three-pointer by Bran.
The Bears regrouped and built the margin back to 14, 53-39, on a T.J. Hallice layup with 8:26 to play. But the Mocs continued to battle. Two Ronrico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) free throws with 1:37 left got UTC to within six, 59-53, but those were the last points of the game for the Mocs.
Mercer's Langston Hall led all scorers with 19 points while adding five rebounds, four assists and two steals. He hit six of 12 shots including five for nine from three-point range.
Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) paced Chattanooga with 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Gee McGhee (Baton Rouge, La.) chipped in 12 points and four boards, while Bran posted eight points. Martynas Bareika (Kedainiai, Lithuania) added a career-high seven rebounds.
It was a tough shooting night for the home team. UTC hit 33.3 percent (18-54) from the field and 26.9 percent (7-26) from beyond the arc. Usually dominant on the glass, the Mocs struggled with the Bears claiming a 38-33 advantage on the boards.
Chattanooga got off to a good start. An 8-0 run capped by a Mason layup put the Mocs up 10-5 early with 16:48 to go until intermission. Mercer took control of the game with 19 unanswered points, holding its opponent without a point for 8:42 with a jumper by McGhee ending the drought.
Down 15, 33-18, McGhee scored on a jumper and a layup on the Mocs final two possessions to send his squad to the break on an upswing down 33-22.
Bran, Bareika and Sam Watson (Knoxville, Tenn.) were impactful off the bench for Chattanooga. The trio combined for 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and a steal.
UTC wraps up the pre-holiday schedule Friday with Reinhardt visiting McKenzie Arena. Game time is slated for Noon. Tickets are available on GoMocs.com or by calling (423) 266-MOCS (6627).
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