The Mocs basketball team fell a basket short of remaining in the Southern Conference championship tournament and continuing its successful season. A final-second missed shot was followed by a second-chance offensive rebound opportunity that ended in frustration when a lost ball out of bounds then occurred, resulting in a 72-70 loss to Wofford.
Still this Mocs team under third-year Head Coach Lamont Paris made a remarkable turnaround from its two previous seasons and became the 25th team in UTC history to post a 20-win season, finishing 20-13, 10-4 at home and 10-8 in Southern Conference play. For the fifth time in team annals, three players surpassed the 400 point level; Matt Ryan (507), Ramond Vila (441) and David Jean-Baptiste (417). The Mocs highest-scoring threesome in history was during the 1977 NCAA DII National Championship run when William Gordon 700, Wayne Golden 657 and Gary Stitch 373 combined to score 1,730 points.
Ryan and Vila were named All-Southern Conference.
Two years ago, in 2017-18, Chattanooga had the youngest team in NCAA Division I play. At the end of that season just one player, Jean-Baptiste, was returning to the 2018-19 team. With six returnees this year, the level of play vastly improved. Going into 2020-21, only Ryan and veteran Jonathan Scott will be gone, so Paris is optimistic about greeting an upperclassman-laden squad when practice resumes.
Another important point is the Mocs players posted a team 3.17 GPA during in fall 2019, and their mental prowess showed with intelligent, team-oriented play.
Other highlights from this season:
- Ryan’s 507 points marks just the fourth occasion this century with a 500-point scorer, 25th on record. The last? 633 by Stephen McDowell in 2009.
- Seven wins against D-I non-conference opponents in the regular season for the fourth time: 1987-88 (7-4), 2015-16 (9-2) and 2016-17 (7-4).
- 23-point road win at The Citadel was the largest margin of victory in a road contest since Dec. 29, 2015 against Lipscomb in Nashville.
- Led NCAA Division I opponents by 28 or more points six times this season: Samford (40), Wofford (30), Alabama State (30), The Citadel (29), South Alabama (28) and at The Citadel (28).
- 105 points vs Samford tied for the eighth-highest total against a D-I opponent and ties for fifth in a conference matchup.