Yes, the Mocs did what they were expected to do in the first half against Montreat on Saturday evening. But it was what they did in the second half that really impressed me.
The Mocs were ahead 55-34 at halftime, a comfortable 21 point lead. But that doesn't really tell the tale. Montreat is a very good shooting team that had scored over 85 points against every team they had played. They had also shot well over 50% from the floor for the season. In the first half, the Cavaliers shot 47.6%. Considering what Radford had done shooting-wise against the Mocs, I was concerned about the Cavaliers shooting. I wanted to see the Mocs defense dominate as much as possible, and not just with steals and forced turnovers, but with attitude and field goal percentage.
The second half, the Mocs locked down on Montreat. The Cavaliers shot a mere 29.2% from the floor in the second half, and missed all three of their three point attempts. In other words, the Mocs defense showed they were more than flash and dash, but were also able to step up and played some tough defense when necessary.
Admittedly, it was only against Montreat, so who knows how important it really is to play that kind of defense against them, but I was impressed nonetheless. The Mocs came up with twenty steals and forced 28 turnovers for the game. That was good.
Gee McGhee was again the Mocs leading scorer, with sixteen points. Z Mason had 15 points and twelve rebounds. The Mocs made 43.5% of their threes in this one, which means they have improved each and every game from three point range. The starters even made two out of five from downtown. The starters have been struggling to make threes, but made a decent percentage (on very few attempts) against the Cavaliers. Mason and Greg Pryor each made one. That was Pryor's only made basket of the night. He had his worst game of his Mocs career. He scored just one basket and had just one assist. Still, he had no turnovers, so it's hard to be too upset.
Alex Bran knocked down three threes and scored 13 points. Eric Robertson added two threes. TJ Williams scored nine with five rebounds and three blocks. He showed his athleticism on a block and dunk during the game.
The biggest concern for the Mocs in this one was their free throw shooting. They made only 20 of 30 or 58% from the line. That's not good. They have been good from the free throw line this year prior to this one, so maybe this was a one time thing. We can hope so. Stokes went 1 for 4 and Mason went 2 for 4. Casey Jones went 2 for 6.
That being said, Jones had a very solid game. He scored 12 points and had seven rebounds. Jones continues to show his growth as a player.
The Mocs performance was good, especially on the defensive end in the second half. It was against Montreat, but defending your home court and doing that is huge. Now they get Kennesaw State on Tuesday at home. It's a big game to find out where the Mocs are before their West Coast swing. They have played the Owls the last three years and the home team has never won. We'll see what happens. Hope there's a big crowd there.