(Photo Credit: Dale Rutemeyer/GoMocs.com): Casey Jones scored a career-high 23 points to lead three Mocs in double figures
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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.---The Chattanooga Mocs won their sixth in a row topping Wofford 70-69 in McKenzie Arena. The win keeps the Mocs atop the Southern Conference standings at 4-0, a half-game clear of Western Carolina and Davidson.
Sophomore forward Casey Jones (New Orleans, La.) scored a career-high 23 points to lead Chattanooga adding eight rebounds. Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) had 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, while Ronrico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) chipped in 15 points and two steals.
“(Casey Jones) is great…he gets in the paint and he is tough,” Head Coach Will Wade responded to a question on Jones’ play. “One thing that really helps him is that he can explode. When those guys come in to square him up, he can explode over them and get a shot off. He has great lift, athleticism and bounce.”
Wofford was paced by Karl Cochran with 20 points. Lee Skinner added 10 points and a career-high 15 boards, as Spencer Collins scored 11.
The Mocs led by as many as 11 in the second half. It was 61-50 on a Jones layup with 5:51 to go. The Terriers chipped away at the lead cutting it to four, 65-61, on two Skinner free throws at 1:30.
White came down and expertly ran the offense. He scored on a layup with six seconds left on the shot clock to make it a six-point ball game with a minute to play.
It was still six inside 30 seconds when the Terriers ran off five unanswered points. Cochran raced down the floor after a missed free throw with 6.1 remaining and went all the way to the rim. Greg Pryor (Memphis, Tenn.) waited outside the block/charge arc and braced for the collision. Cochran was called for the charge as Pryor secured the victory with 1.1 on the clock.
“He put his body on the line and took a big charge for the team,” Wade said. “I am really proud of him. He had been in a little bit of a lull and hopefully this jumpstarts him and gets him going.”
It was a tale of two halves. Chattanooga led 28-24 at the break, but turned the pace of the game into its favor in the second half moving it from a half-court to transition game.
Jones (19) and Mason (12) combined for 31 of the Mocs’ 42 second half points. Mason also had all four blocks in the second frame with his squad’s record improving to 10-8.
Wofford falls to 7-9, 2-2 in the SoCon. It led early, 9-6 on Cochran’s first three-pointer of the contest. Chattanooga scored the next eight points to lead 14-9 on Lance Stokes’ (Orlando, Fla.) basket at 11:30. The Terriers tied it 18-all on two C.J. Neumann free throws with 6:33 left in the opening half, but White put his team up for good with three free throws just eight seconds later.
“Excited to get the win,” Wade stated. “I thought we played really well for a vast majority of the second half. We got a little loose in the last three minutes of the game. They did a very good job of attacking us and taking us off the bounce.
“I am just proud of our guys,” he concluded. “Wofford is a tough team, and I thought we matched them in toughness and physicality. That is hard to do against them.
“I am proud of our guys answering the call.”
It’s back on the road next weekend for the Mocs. The squad travels to Appalachian State on Thursday before facing these same Wofford Terriers next Saturday in Spartanburg.
The games can be listened to 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 video (PPV), audio (free) and live stats. You can follow @GoMocsMBB on twitter for live updates as well.
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