Senior forward Z. Mason scored 30 points and added 14 rebounds, notching his sixth double-double of the season, as Chattanooga earned an 82-78 victory over The Citadel at McAlister Field House on Monday evening.
The game was decided in the final minutes as Citadel guard Marshall Harris III provided his team with a 75-69 lead with 3:48 remaining in the contest. Chattanooga responded by piecing together an 8-1 run, highlighted by a 3-pointer by Martynas Bareika, as the Mocs assumed a 77-76 with 1:40 on the clock.
Ashton Moore knocked down a pair of critical free throws for the Bulldogs (4-12, 0-1 SoCon), who regained the lead 78-77, but five unanswered points down the stretch by the Mocs, including a free throw by Mason, made for the four-point final.
With an eight-point lead in hand following the intermission, The Citadel used 3-pointers by Harris and Matt Van Scyoc to stretch the lead to 48-36 in less than minutes.
Greg Pryor drew a foul from Moore to narrow the lead to 10, but it was eight straight points by Mason that keyed a 10-0 Chattanooga run as the lead was trimmed to 48-46 with 17:03 remaining.
Four points off the hand of Quinton Marshall kept The Citadel in front, 56-53, before a timely trey by Eric Robertson brought the game to a 56-56 tie with 11:51 left.
A layup by White followed by two Moore free throws gave the Dogs a four-point lead, 60-56, but back-to-back buckets by Mason knotted the game at 60-all with just over 10 minutes to go in the game.
The Dogs stretched their lead back to four, 69-65, following a layup by Van Scyoc, however a 17-8 run over the final 5:07 made the difference for the Mocs.
Mason was one of three players in the Chattanooga lineup to reach double figures, joined by Casey Jones (14 points) and Ronrico White (13) as the Mocs move to 8-8 overall and 2-0 in Southern Conference play.
The Citadel was led offensively by the trio of Moore (21 points), White (20) and Van Scyoc (16). Moore not only made his impact on the offense, hitting 6-of-16 from the floor and a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range, but he climbed the glass for a career-high nine rebounds.
White reached the 20-point plateau for the fourth time in his young career by virtue of hitting 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 at the charity stripe. Van Scyoc found his shooting form as he knocked down 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range in the contest. It marked the third time this season and ninth game in his career that Van Scyoc has hit at least four from downtown.
The Citadel connected on 28-of-62 (45.2%) field goal attempts in the game, knocking down 9-of-18 (50%) from 3-point range along the way. The Bulldogs gathered 38 rebounds (19 rebounds) to finish with 13 second chance points.
The Mocs capped off the game by hitting 27-of-65 (41.5%) from the field and 22-of-27 (81.5%) from the free throw line. Chattanooga managed to rebound from a difficult shooting first half to convert 14-of-31 (45.2%) from the floor in the second half. UTC also came through with a solid performance at the free throw line, hitting 16-of-21 (76.2%) to earn their 26th all-time victory in Charleston since joining the Southern Conference.
Chattanooga closed out the game with 41 rebounds, snagging 22 on the offensive glass, which allowed the Mocs to finish with a 38-35 advantage in the paint.
Moore scored eight of the first 10 points for the Bulldogs who established a six-point lead in less than three minutes into the opening half before Chattanooga responded with six unanswered, including layups by Gee McGhee and Lance Stokes to bring the game to a 10-10 tie.
After regaining the lead on a pair of White conversions at the line, The Citadel took advantage of a Van Scyoc trey and a series of layups by Warren Sledge and Marshall to push the lead to 19-12.
Chattanooga responded to the challenge, trimming the lead to four on a layup by Stokes, but following a Harris 3-pointer and a White layup The Citadel offense was back in rhythm with a 28-20 advantage.
Junior P.J. Horgan, making his first appearance of the season after suffering a back injury, gave the Dogs their first double-digit lead, 30-20, with 7:28 remaining.
The Mocs used six points from White, including a trey at the 3:03 mark, to make for a 36-30 contest. The Citadel answered by scoring eight of the next 12 points to close the half with a 42-34 lead.
The Bulldogs closed out one of their best first half shooting performances of the season by knocking down 16-of-30 (53.3%) from the field and 6-of-9 (66.7%) from beyond the arc.
The Citadel tandem of Moore (12 points) and White (10) led the Dogs in scoring as they combined to hit 7-of-15 from the floor. Van Scyoc capped off a nine-point first half by knocking down 3-of-6 from the field, hitting all three of his field goals from beyond the arc.
Chattanooga, facing pressure from The Citadel defense throughout the opening half of play, wrapped up the first half hitting 13-of-34 (38.2%) from the floor.
The Citadel heads out on a two-game road trip over the weekend that includes stops at Wofford (Jan. 6) and Elon (Jan. 11).