CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.---You never get a second chance to make a first impression. First-year Head Coach Will Wade and his Chattanooga Mocs (1-0) made the most of their first opportunity, crushing nearby Covenant College (0-0) 119-56, while debuting “Chaos” to the Scenic City.
“I thought we played well in spurts,” Wade stated. “I thought we fouled a little too much in the second half and put them in the bonus too quickly. I thought we were a little fatigued in the first half, which led to fouling and walking them to the foul line. That’s an area that we have to continue to improve.
“I was proud of the way we shot at the foul line,” he continued. “We shot around 78% from the foul line and we’ve put a lot of work into that.”
Sophomore guard Gee McGhee (Baton Rouge, La.) led seven Mocs in double digits with 19 points tonight. It was a well-rounded game for the 2013 Southern Conference All-Freshman selection, adding a career-high seven assists to go with five rebounds and three steals.
He was not the only Moc with a multiple efforts on the stat sheet. Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) had 16 points, eight boards and a career-best five blocks. His effort led the squad to 10 blocks on the night, a first since January of 2008.
Chattanooga led from start to finish. It scored the game’s first 14 points and never looked back. The Mocs delighted a crowd of 4,637, which is the largest attendance for a season opener at home since 6,170 crossed the turnstiles on November 25, 1995 (USC-Aiken).
“The first thing I am going to talk about when someone asks me about my first college game is how loud it was and how big the crowd was tonight,” freshman point guard Greg Pryor (Memphis, Tenn.) said. “The band, the fans and students were great. It was very noisy, and it forced me to call plays with my hands.
“It's way different than playing in a high school game,” he added. The game is much faster. You have to be very poised.”
Pryor started in his first collegiate game, getting the Mocs rolling early and often. He ended his night with 14 points, four assists and four steals. Lance Stokes (Orlando, Fla.) chipped in 13 points, five rebounds, two blocks and a career-high five steals.
Others in double digits were Martynas Bareika (Kedainiai, Lithuania), Eric Robertson (Huntsville, Ala.) and Alex Bran (Memphis, Tenn.), all off the bench. Robertson had 13, while Barieka and Bran added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Freshman T.J. Williams (Wilmington, N.C.) controlled the glass with game-high 11 rebounds.
Covenant was led by Nate Frierson’s 11 points. The Scots were limited to 27.8 percent (15-54) shooting from the field, including 21.1 percent (4-19) from 3pt range. The Mocs forced their visitors into 34 turnovers resulting in 47 of their 119 points.
Chattanooga shot a robust 56 percent (42-75) from the field and 78.4 percent from the charity stripe (29-37). It tallied 49 rebounds, 22 assists and 19 steals with the aforementioned 10 blocks.
It’s on to Radford for the Mocs. They meet the Highlanders in Radford, Va., on Monday with a 7 p.m., start time. Listen to the game on ESPN 105.1 The Zone in Chattanooga or world-wide online at GoMocs.com.
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