The Mocs won the Southern Conference championship on Monday night, 73-67, over ETSU. Chattanooga took control early, but ETSU rallied and cut the lead to one point before the Mocs pushed the lead out again and won.
The Mocs outrebounded ETSU, 37-33. Dee Oldham had nine points and nine rebounds. Greg Pryor and Tre McLean each got 13 points. The Mocs made 26 of 31 from the free throw line, where the game was won.
ETSU collected two technical fouls with about four minutes left. Steve Forbes got one and TJ Cromer got another. There appeared to be a foul on a jump shot by Cromer that went uncalled. Cromer overreacted, picking up the technical. Forbes then followed the ref down the floor, which got him the second technical. Pryor knocked down three of the four technical free throws to push the lead from five to eight. After that, the Mocs were never seriously threatened.
Greg Pryor won the Player of the Tournament. Pryor was not a huge scorer, though he had two great games in the last two games. He made the most important plays consistently for the Mocs throughout the final two games of the tournament.
The Mocs are heading to the NCAA Tournament, where they will be a very tough out for any major conference team. The Mocs have not played great over the last month, but have done enough to get into the tournament and get to 29-5 on the season. But it has looked like the Mocs have played with some pressure on their shoulders the last few weeks. They will be able to play without that pressure in the NCAA Tournament. That will help the Mocs be able to possibly get a win or two in the NCAA Tournament. I think they will probably get a 12 seed, but could get as high as an 11 seed. It could also be lower than a 12, but I think they wind up in the 12 spot most likely.
ETSU will lose Deuce Bello, Petey McClain, Ge'Lawn Guyn and Lester Wilson after this season. Those are big losses. But there seems to be no doubt that Steve Forbes has the Bucs heading in the right direction. He did a great job this season and clearly has the program heading in the right direction. The Mocs and Bucs should both be back, and this rivalry could really get going again.
In the meantime, the Mocs will prepare for the NCAA Tournament. They will find out their destination and their opponent on Sunday night. They are a team no major conference team will want to face in their first game.