GAME NOTES: The Chattanooga Mocs try to keep their perfect Southern Conference record intact as they host the Wofford Terriers at McKenzie Arena on Saturday.
The Terriers survived a thriller on Thursday night and defeated The Citadel, 79-75, in overtime. The victory was the fourth in five outings and improved Wofford to a 7-8 record, including a 2-1 mark in conference play. The Terriers faced an 11-point second half deficit before Karl Cochran knocked down a jumper with 35 seconds left in regulation to force the extra session. Wofford dominated on the interior to outscore the Bulldogs, 48-26, in the paint.
Chattanooga downed Samford, 90-81, in the first chapter of its two-game homestand on Thursday and notched its fifth consecutive victory in the process. The Mocs' recent surge has lifted one game above the .500 mark overall and to a perfect 3-0 SoCon record. Chattanooga coasted past Samford by hitting on 9-of-19 attempts from behind the 3-point line and outscoring the Bulldogs, 31-14, at the free-throw line.
This will be the 28th meeting in history between these schools. Chattanooga owns a 16-11 all-time series lead which includes a 10-3 record versus Wofford at home. The Terriers coasted to a 78-58 decision over the Mocs in last season's bout at Johnson Arena on Feb. 16.
The Terriers have the lowest scoring average in the SoCon at 65.5 ppg, but they counter their lack of offensive firepower with the league's best defense that surrenders just 65.7 ppg. Wofford's offense revolves around the trio of Spencer Collins, Cochran and Lee Skinner. Collins is contributing a team-high 13.6 ppg and Cochran is close behind at 12.2 ppg. Skinner is posting 11.6 ppg and is also fourth in rebounding in the SoCon with eight rpg. The 6-foot-6 junior forward scored 22 points last Saturday versus Davidson before registering a double-double of 28 points and 13 boards against The Citadel.
Chattanooga plays at a much faster tempo than the visitors and leads the conference in scoring at 79.2 ppg. It is allowing 76.3 ppg to its opposition and showed it has some issues on the defensive end against Samford, which managed to surpass its season scoring average by more than 10 points. Senior forward Z. Mason continued his remarkable campaign and registered his sixth consecutive double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Ronrico White poured in a season-high 28 points with the help of a perfect 12-of-12 clip at the charity stripe. White has been on fire with 17 ppg during the span of the team's current winning streak.
The early stages of this contest will be vital. Wofford cannot afford to fall behind the Mocs in the first half or it will be forced to play at a very fast pace that is far from its comfort zone. Chattanooga could be frustrated by the visitor's top-notch defense, but cooling off the red-hot duo of Mason and White may be impossible even for the stingy Terriers.
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