Wofford beat Chattanooga at home in a remarkable contest, 68-64, on Monday night. The Mocs dominated much of the first 25 minutes of the game, but it was the Karl Cochran show in the second half, and that was the difference.
Cochran poured in 27 of the Terriers 48 second half points. This came after a first half in which the Terriers only scored 20 points and Cochran scored just six. But suddenly, in the second half, Cochran could simply not miss, and he wound up with a career high 33 points. He made 6 of 9 from three point range and 12 of 21 from the floor for the game. Only one other Terrier scored in double figures.
That other Terrier in double figures was Lee Skinner, who was one of the reasons the Terriers were down just ten at halftime. He had ten points and eight rebounds for the game. In a lot of ways, it was CJ Neumann who was the reason the Terriers were in the game in the second half. He wound up with eight rebounds and just two points, but five of those rebounds were of the offensive variety. Neumann made several key players throughout the game to keep the Terriers in it.
The Mocs did many things really well in this one. They jumped out to a 20-6 lead and lead in the second half 39-25, but could not put the game out of reach. There was a sense the entire game that the Mocs had not taken advantage of their early defensive dominance. In the end, that is how the game played out. The Mocs did not do enough to take advantage of how long it took the Terriers to figure out the Chattanooga defense.
Justin Tuoyo is player that every team in the SoCon is going to have to figure out. The Mocs sophomore scored 19 points, collected 13 rebounds and swatted four blocks. Tuoyo is developing into one of the better players in the conference, and he is a match-up problem for the other SoCon teams.
Casey Jones also scored 21 points and seven rebounds. But the Mocs, who have been so hot shooting from three in recent games, made just 4 of 14 from long distance Monday night. That was a major reason that the Terriers were able to come up with the win.
This is the second time this year the Mocs have blown a double digit second half lead and lost the game. They blew a 19 point lead against Tennessee Tech and now this 14 point lead. The Mocs will need to learn how to better close out games as they move forward in SoCon play.
But this night was about Cochran, who had maybe the most memorable night of his career. There were pro scouts on hand to watch him, and he put on a show. The Terriers are a threat to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament if they can keep on winning, something no SoCon team has ever accomplished. Cochran is one of the biggest reasons why. If he plays like he did tonight, no team in the country would be able to contain him. He simply was shooting too well.
These two teams may be the two best teams in the SoCon. Mercer is 3-0 in SoCon play so far and Wofford is 2-0. ETSU sits at 3-1, while Chattanooga and Western Carolina are each 2-1. Regardless of the standings this early in the conference season, Chattanooga has clearly established themselves as one of the better teams in the conference. They will host Western Carolina Thursday before going to ETSU Saturday, so this is a big rest of the week for the Mocs. Wofford hosts VMI and Samford in their next two games, which the Terriers will be heavily favored in both. Wofford established themselves as the SoCon favorites on Monday night, and Chattanooga is left to ask what might have been.